New E-book Short: Women and the Politics of Sterilization

Women and the Politics of Sterilization: A UNC Press Short, Excerpted from Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare, by Johanna Schoen

Announcing a new UNC Press E-Book Short:

Johanna Schoen

on Women and the Politics of Sterilization

excerpted from Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare
Johanna Schoen
In 2003, North Carolina became the third U.S. state to apologize and the first to call for compensation to victims of state-ordered sterilizations carried out between 1929 and 1975. The decision was prompted largely by a series of articles in the Winston-Salem Journal. The stories were inspired in part by the meticulous research of Johanna Schoen, who was granted unique access to the papers of the North Carolina Eugenics Board and to summaries of the case histories of nearly 7600 victims—men, women, and children as young as ten years old—most of whom had been sterilized without their consent. In 2011, a gubernatorial task force held public hearings to gather testimony from the victims and their families before recommending in early 2012 that each living victim be granted $50,000 compensation. The restitution proposal requires legislative approval before funds can be dispersed.

In this UNC Press e-book short, Johanna Schoen explains the legal construction of North Carolina’s sterilization program, which lasted far longer than similar programs in other states, and demonstrates through the stories of several women how the state was able to deny women who were poor, uneducated, African American, or “promiscuous” reproductive autonomy in multiple ways.

Schoen was granted unique access to the papers of the North Carolina Eugenics Board and to summaries of the case histories of nearly 7,600 victims—men, women, and children as young as ten years old—most of whom had been sterilized without their consent.

Johanna Schoen is associate professor of history at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

ISBN 9780807837597, $6.99
Available for Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and Sony’s eReader.


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