Mass Sterilization

A Darker Whisper:

A woman who had fifteen abortions in sixteen years writes that she is worried about becoming the target of "fundamentalism." In reading her story, though, what jumped out were these lines:

Vilar's story is set against the backdrop of the American-led mass sterilization program in her native Puerto Rico from 1955 to 1969... [b]y 1974, 37 percent of all Puerto Rican women of childbearing age had been permanently sterilized in that experiment.
That is a claim I had never heard before. Here and here are a couple of '.edu' articles on the subject. There is a Wikipedia article on forced sterilization here. It states:
The United States was the first country to concertedly undertake compulsory sterilization programs for the purpose of eugenics. The heads of the program were avid believers in eugenics and frequently argued for their program. They were devastated when it was shut down due to ethical problems. The principal targets of the American program were the mentally retarded and the mentally ill, but also targeted under many state laws were the deaf, the blind, people with epilepsy, and the physically deformed. Native Americans, as well as African-American women, were sterilized against their will in many states, often without their knowledge, while they were in a hospital for other reasons (e.g. childbirth). Some sterilizations also took place in prisons and other penal institutions, targeting criminality, but they were in the relative minority. In the end, over 65,000 individuals were sterilized in 33 states under state compulsory sterilization programs in the United States.
We should be well aware of previous attempts by our government to "improve" us through health care at this time. I wonder, though -- 65,000 is a very small number compared to the "37% of all Puerto Rican women" posited by the article. Today, there are just under four million Puerto Ricans; of whom about half would be women; of whom about half would be in childbearing ages. That would be one million women, not 65,000.

There is something wicked hiding here, but it is not yet clear just what it might be. Is it several small imps -- a small sterilization program, a love of eugenics, some racism, and a desire by later anti-Americans to over-tell a true story? Or is it a greater evil, which has somehow avoided our eye until now?

I should like to know more.

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