On this day: SCOTUS rules in favor of Va. law that set precedent of forced sterilization

On this day: SCOTUS rules in favor of Va. law that set precedent of forced sterilization
After being raised by foster parents and allegedly raped by their nephew, the appellant, Carrie Buck (left), was deemed feebleminded and promiscuous. In 1924, Buck was committed to the Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feeble-Minded, near Lynchburg, and there ordered sterilized. (Source: Library of Virginia)

(WWBT) - On this day in 1927, a major decision was made by the United States Supreme Court in a case known as Buck v Bell. At stake was a Virginia law that allowed for state-sponsored institutions to forcibly sterilize prisoners and those in mental institutions because they were deemed “undesirable.”

A now-debunked science known as eugenics served as the foundation of the law – arguing that qualities like criminality and promiscuity were passed down genetically.

The final ruling from the Supreme Court in favor of the law was even cited by Hitler’s Nazi regime for its own sterilization programs.

Learn all about this dark day in Virginia’s history with the help of Dr. Karen Sherry from the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, in Episode 2 of Season 3 of the How We Got Here Podcast.

Copyright 2020 WWBT. All rights reserved.