From Forced Birth To Forced Sterilization, Black Americans Continue to Fight For Bodily Autonomy

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Alyssa Guznik
March 9, 2023

Imagine being a young mother with a small child trying to survive in a home for the disabled. Your fate is in the hands of doctors who believe your very existence is wrong. What do white doctors do with a Black woman they view as flawed who's already had one child? 

They forcefully sterilized her.

When we speak of eugenics today, 1930s Germany comes to mind. However, Germany learned their tricks from America. From 1929 to 1974, North Carolina treated Black people, especially Black women, as lab rats, sterilizing them without their knowledge or consent.

When forced sterilizations finally ended in North Carolina, thousands of Black women and men were left sterile. Why? Because white supremacists wanted to create a race of perfect people. Black men and women, especially those with disabilities, were far from perfect in their eyes.

From slavery to forced sterilizations and forced births, anti-Blackness has tried to find ways to eliminate us. It's so ingrained in mainstream society that doctors are blind to it. We must continue to fight for ourselves and our bodily autonomy.

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