It sounds like something out of Nazi Germany, but it happened right in the United States. Now, former nurses are coming forward, admitting and lamenting their roles in a government forced-sterilization of those deemed “defective.”
“Ground Zero” for the government plans for a “super-race” was at the Lynchburg State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded. Former nurse Celia Vandegrift is 87, but she explains that her memory is still crystal clear with regards to the forced-sterilizations she took part in administering.
The government-run facility housed those who were epileptic, mentally disabled and others determined by the State to be “socially inadequate.”
Vandegrift says she personally administered thousands of forced sterilizations as part of a government effort to rid society of those deemed defective. All of this was literally for the purpose of creating what the government claimed would be a “super-race.”
Al-Jazeera’s “America Tonight” sat down with Vandegrift, who explained “it’s what our legislators wanted at the time and what our bosses wanted, even the President of the United States,” Vandegrift said. “You trusted all those people, so I went right along with them.”
“I thought, at the time, I was doing the right thing,” she added. “I can see now that it was so wrong.”
This wasn’t something that just happened in secret, without the government knowing about it. The Supreme Court itself upheld Virginia’s sterilization law.
Virginia’s 1924 Eugenical Sterilization Act laid it all out. Three years later, the Supreme Court ruled the whole thing to be constitutional. In fact, this court decision was later even cited by Nazi doctors during the Nuremberg trials, in their defense.
In all, 7,325 Virginians were forcibly-sterilized under the law. The State didn’t even scrub the act from the law books until 1979. By then, over 65,000 forced sterilizations had been conducted across the nation.
One of those sterilized was Lewis Reynolds, 86, who says “I wish I had a family,” but he had a head injury and was deemed “defective” by the age of 13. He was later accepted into the military, where he served for 30 years, in spite of the State having ruled him “defective” and thus in need of sterilization.
“I just wonder what kind of daddy would I be if I had any children,” he lamented.
Janet Ingram, 66, was sterilized as part of this program when she was a teenager too.
“I woke up and my stomach was hurting,” she recalled. “I said, ‘Oh no, my stomach. I looked down, and I had stitches in my…stomach, and the nurse came back in and…I said, ‘What happened?’ She said, ‘You just been sterilized.’”
“And she said, ‘Oh you didn’t want to have a baby cause they’re nasty,’” Ingram continued.
Ingram had been sent to the facility when she was only 22 months old, because “she was suspected of being feebleminded, of low mentality due to inbreeding and environmental surroundings and living under the worst financial, home and moral conditions imaginable.”
It wasn’t until this year that the Virginia House came clean themselves and voted to approve a meager $500,000 “to provide compensation to some of our most vulnerable citizens who were subjected to forced sterilization during the middle part of the past century.”
On March 24, a general assemble discussion will decide whether to approve a pitiful $25,000 to each surviving victim of this State “Super-Race” program.
But Virginia was not alone. North Carolina has already passed a similar compensatory measure. Nearly 30 other states took part in programs just like Virginia’s.
(Article by M. David and S. Wooten; image via Counter Current News)