Davis Apologizes For 20,000 Sterilized
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 12, 2003
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA--"To the victims and their families of this past injustice, the people of California are deeply sorry for the suffering you endured over the years."
That apology came from California Governor Gray Davis Wednesday, just hours after state Senator Dede Alpert, D-San Diego, held a hearing on the history of eugenics.
State Attorney General Bill Lockyer issued a similar apology to the estimated 20,000 Californians who had been sterilized -- many against their will -- between 1909 and the 1960s.
Thirty US states and two Canadian provinces were responsible for sterilizing over 66,000 people, most with developmental disabilities or mental illnesses, during the eugenics movement, which was based on the idea that society could and should be improved by keeping people with "unwanted" traits from having children. California sterilized the most, making up nearly one-third of the total.
Davis becomes the fifth governor since last May to apologize for his state's role in eugenics. The governors of Virginia, Oregon, North Carolina and South Carolina have issued formal apologies.
"State's little-known history of shameful science / California's role in Nazis' goal of 'purification'" (San Francisco Chronicle)
"Davis apologizes for state's sterilization program Those with hereditary flaws were victims" (San Francisco Chronicle)