Stern, Novak, Harlow, and colleagues say compensation due Californians forcibly sterilized under eugenics laws
Eugenics laws permitting compulsory sterilization remained on California’s books until 1979, affecting an estimated 20,000 citizens. Alexandra Minna Stern and colleagues examined state sterilization records from 1919 to 1952 for more than 19,000 Californians who were recommended for sterilization. They say that as many as 831 of these individuals are still alive. Stern says: “This was one of these dramatic and significant episodes in the state’s history that shouldn’t be forgotten. Each of these 20,000 people…should have been treated with dignity.” The researchers believe that redress of this historical injustice should be undertaken. Specifically, they suggest that, as in North Carolina and Virginia, California should offer financial compensation to any survivors of forcible sterilization.