Philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Elements of the early eugenics movement in America were models for the Nazis. The eugenics archives has a comprehensive website of documents from the Eugenics Record Office where the Eugenics movement in America is exhaustively chronicled. The Chicago Tribune has this piece out which reminds us today of the women still profoundly affected by their own personal stories of involuntary sterilization. Elaine Riddick of North Carolina recounts her story of growing up in Winfall, N.C., with alcoholic parents. At 13, she was sent to an orphanage and eventually ended up on the street. Repeatedly sexually assaulted by an older man in the community. Pregnant at the age of 14, she fit the profile for the eugenics board in North Carolina, “which during its course sterilized more than 2,000 children, some as young as 10.”
- Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.