We’ve now all heard the allegations about unwanted hysterectomies being performed on women in detention camps. A lot of people are skeptical because of some sense that “this is not who we are.”

Unfortunately, a country that sterilizes “undesirables” is EXACTLY what America is.
America’s love affair with eugenics dates back to the early 1900s. As more immigrants came here, people became fixated on how to preserve “Anglo-Saxon superiority.”
The Carnegie institute released a paper detailing ways to keep America pure. Those points ranged from sterilization to lethal gas chambers -- in case you were wondering how the Nazis got that idea. (sfgate.com/opinion/articl…)
Not yet ready for gas chambers, in 1907 Indiana approved a “sterilization law” that allowed mental facilities to sterilize patients they deemed unfit. That could range from anyone from those of Mexican-American descent to homosexuals.
Of the 32 states that legalized eugenics, California led the way. In the first half of the century 20,000 people in CA were subjected to forced sterilization. 60,000 would be nationally. theatlantic.com/health/archive…
In 1927, the Supreme Court voted 8 to 1 to uphold State’s right to sterilize undesirables. That decision was made after Buck vs. Bell.
Carrie Buck was sterilized because she was deemed “feebleminded.” In actual fact, while she’d grown up in poverty, she was doing well in school. (facinghistory.org/resource-libra…).
There was probably very little wrong with her other than the fact that she was raped and impregnated by the nephew of her wealthy foster family, who would rather call her feebleminded and have her institutionalized than deal with the fallout.
Nonetheless, the Eugenics board declared that she should be sterilized as she was “from a shiftless, ignorant, and worthless class of people.” Not only was SHE sterilized, but so were her mother and sister.
Her sister had been told the operation was to have her appendix out. When she found out its real purpose she claimed, “I broke down and cried. My husband and me wanted children desperately. We were crazy about them.” (fredericksburg.com/local/justice-…).
“Feebleminded” could be used as a catch-all to sterilize just about anyone Americans were uncomfortable with. 40 to 50% of Jews at Ellis Island were categorized as “feebleminded” (often because they did not speak English.) (wvpublic.org/post/supreme-c…)
Women of color were especially likely to be subjected to this. By 1946, it was estimated that “6.5 percent of Puerto Rican women had been sterilized by government hospitals and private clinics.” By 1953, that number had jumped to nearly 17%. (twu.edu/media/document…)
Black women were disproportionately sterilized — in NC, for instance, of the 7,600 women sterilized, approximately 5,000 were black. (msnbc.com/all/eugenic-st…)
And, after the passage of the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act of 1970, over a six year period, physicians sterilized 25% of Native American women, often without their consent or understanding. (time.com/5737080/native…)
In the early 1970’s for instance, two Native American girls went to the hospital for appendectomies. While they were under anesthesia, the doctors sterilized them. (ourbodiesourselves.org/book-excerpts/…)
And look, while this became less widespread, it never REALLY ended. In 2014 it was found that in the past decade hundreds of tubal ligations had been done on women in prison. 39% were done without informed consent. (revealnews.org/article/female…)
So please, be outraged by the hysterectomies. We all should be. But the next time someone tells you it’s simply unbelievable that could happen in America, ask them why on earth they would think that.

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More from @JenAshleyWright

10 Jun
Just a reminder that, according to Bartolome de las Casas, when Columbus’s men ran out of food for their dogs, “Arawak babies were killed for dog food.”
After learning of the atrocities he committed, Columbus was returned to Spain in chains and stripped of his governor title (though he was ultimately pardoned.)
So, if you haven’t fed infants to your dog, you have a leg up on Christopher Columbus.
Read 6 tweets
3 Oct 18
Hey — if you enjoy my tweets, you’ll probably enjoy some of my articles as well.

They’re like twelve tweets mushed together, except I get paid for writing them. (THREAD)
If Republicans don’t want to be compared to Nazis, they should stop behaving exactly like Nazis. harpersbazaar.com/culture/politi…
Anti-Choice activists: Facts don’t care about your feelings. harpersbazaar.com/culture/politi…
Read 13 tweets
29 Aug 18
I’ve been thinking about this a great deal. My first instinct is to say, “yes, of course,” but it’s not quite that simple. Join me on a tiny thread about historical monsters we elected!
My personal least favorite President Woodrow Wilson comes to mind. He endangered countless lives by sending soldiers off in crowded ships despite the Spanish flu, suppressed the press to boost “wartime morale” and made Black men work in cages. I HATE that guy.
I think many people would probably reference Andrew “Trail of Tears” Jackson. The forced relocations of Native Americans during his presidency killed thousands.
Read 13 tweets
27 Aug 18
Anyone who thinks that all great classical artists were men is wrong. Here’s Elisabetta Sirani who, in the 1600s, depicted women throwing their rapists into wells, wielding the sword of justice, chopping off men’s heads. AND she opened a school for other female artists.
I feel like this is worth bringing up because growing up my study of female artists was definitely limited to one two minute mention of Artemisia Gentileschi being a person who existed before getting back to talking about Caravaggio.
By the way, this is still going on. google.com/amp/s/amp.theg…
Read 6 tweets
2 Jul 18
We're very likely to lose Roe Vs. Wade. Some men may think that doesn't concern them. Make it.

If you're single and dating, add a 👩‍⚖️ emoji to your dating profiles to show people you won't date/sleep with anyone who doesn't support a woman's right to choose.

#Lysistrata2018
Sex strikes like these have proven surprisingly effective at creating political change through history: qz.com/958346/history…
In case anyone has difficulty finding the #Lysistrata2018 emoji on their device and needs to cop & paste: emojipedia.org/female-judge/
Read 7 tweets

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