By Erika Dyck

Dealing with Eugenics is a social historical past of sexual sterilization operations in twentieth-century Canada. taking a look at real-life studies of fellows and girls who, both coercively or voluntarily, participated within the biggest felony eugenics application in Canada, it considers the effect of successive criminal regulations and scientific practices on shaping our realizing of up to date reproductive rights. The ebook additionally offers deep insights into the wider implications of scientific experimentation, institutionalization, and health and wellbeing care in North America.

Erika Dyck makes use of a number historic facts, together with clinical documents, courtroom testimony, and private documents to put psychological well-being and intelligence on the centre of discussions concerning reproductive health. interpreting acts of resistance along heavy-handed judgements to sterilize humans thought of “unfit,” dealing with Eugenics illuminates how reproductive rights healthy right into a broader dialogue of what constitutes civil liberties, sleek feminism, and modern psychiatric survivor and incapacity activism.

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Example text

Consequently, issues of social justice and the state’s responsibility to protect its upstanding citizens relied on a careful interpretation of that relationship. The political distinction between criminal and mentally defective behaviour frequently boiled down to an issue of responsibility, where the former reflected intent and the latter could be excused as a matter of disease. Both categories, however, purportedly were ballooning out of control and threatening the stability of progress and social order in the province.

I selected these cases to demonstrate different aspects of the program, in temporal, gendered, and medicalized terms. The gender balance in the chapters is an effort to mirror somewhat the distribution of cases represented in the Eugenics Board files. Women outnumbered men, by approximately 58 per cent to 42 per cent. The distribution of men and women in the program shifted over time: men were equally or overrepresented in the program between the First and Second World Wars, then women returned as the prime targets of sterilization after the Second World War, and remained so until the Act was repealed in 1972.

Her operation occurred in the 1960s while she was institutionalized, based on an IQ rating below 70 that inaccurately ranked her in the moron category of intelligence. Her case exposes the legal history of the eugenics program in Alberta, and offers a rare glimpse into the reflections and political activism that grew out of Leilani’s determination to discuss publicly issues of reproductive rights, human rights, and government’s abuse of authority over individuals deemed disabled or defective. Leilani’s records are the largest collection of documents on a single eugenics case, and include extensive correspondence with lawyers in Canada and abroad who eventually aided her in what is a landmark legal decision in Canadian human rights.

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