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June 26th, 2011
11:07 PM ET

Sterilized by the State: One Woman's Story

Elaine Riddick is one of about 3,000 people in North Carolina who were forced to be sterilized and now are frustrated by a system that has yet to compensate them decades later. This week the state held a panel hearing, trying to figure out how to make amends. Riddick spoke at it, describing how she was cut open like "a hog." Raped at 13, she was subjected to sterilization after giving birth to the son born from the attack. Now 57, Riddick spoke with CNN's Don Lemon about her struggles.

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Filed under: CNN Newsroom • Don Lemon
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Nnacy Boswell

    Thank you for publicizing this woman's tragedy about being sterilized against her will. Lately, I am concerned about the lack of knowledge our American public has on the issue eugenics. Eugenics is an openly recognized plan to try to manipulate the procreation of humanity. It started around the turn of the 19thcentury and by 1920, thirty different states had laws permitting the mandatory sterilization of the people that government did not want to reproduce. This included African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and Caucasians with criminal backgrounds, and physical and mental disabilities in their family histories. These laws were discredited when Adolf Hitler used them as a pattern to purify the German race in Nazi Germany; discredited but not taken off the legal books. In 1937, the United States practiced open sterilization on the women of Puerto Rico. 35% of Puerto Rican women had been openly and forcibly sterilized by the nineteen sixties. The whole development of the birth control pill was achieved by experimenting on Puerto Rican women in the 1950s without their informed consent. These women were given massive doses of the drug in order to determine the correct dosage. Not only did the eugenics laws not disappear but the thinking behind the laws did not disappear. Population control was touted to control Communism in the nineteen fifties, to save the environment in the 1970s, and to control terrorism in the 21st century. who's next? Nancy Boswell

    June 27, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  2. Christopher W McAvoy

    This is why the issues of sterilization, contraception, abortion and "family planning" are all interconnected closely. They are all at heart the same concept of control and power over innocent actions and life. All the root of the same evil, the view that we can destroy and control the outcomes of the choices we make to the point where we severely harm, whether physically or mentally, or even kill , simply to gain power. Mankind can not have this power over nature. It is impossible. It is a deceptive impossible utopian illusion presented as achievable which denies and rejects all basic ethics and morality, as promoted by most major religions.

    The fact that most of the world actively supports the Chinese economy, a nation where at least one person is sterilized every day, against their will shows that this issue has been purposely avoided and hidden from the reality of being the evil outlook it is, is astounding. This is the corruption of this world. A world full of hope for improvement, because of God's great mercy.

    June 28, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
  3. Craig Shearer

    In this lady's case, it is a shame what happened to her. However, I am all for sterilizing any person that procreates while on any form of public assistance. Also, they should sterilize deadbeat fathers and drug abusers. I am tired of the welfare crowd. My wife works in social services, and the stories she tells about children of the poor is heart wrenching. It is cruel to allow them to be born. Time to stop the cycle of irresponsible breeding.

    June 29, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  4. Dee in New Paris OHIO

    I do not think this particular group of women are the only ones to have similar actions taken against them.

    I believe that years ago, when an "unwed" mother was a disgrace, girls who may have been placed in juvenile facilities and who were pregnant at the time may have had their pregnancies aborted without their consent. I talked to a person who worked at a juvenile justice agency, and asked about a particular incident, and was told that the person in question was the ONLY teen aged girl ever sent to the juvenile facility while pregnant, and that when the girl had a 'miscarriage' it was a unique incidnent. I find that incredible and so think that perhaps girls who were pregnant and who were placed in juvenile facilities may have been victims.

    And remember, in the "old days" girls and boys were sometimes sent to juvenile facilities for being "incorrigible", which may have mneant that they were disobedient, not that they were "criminals".

    July 2, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
  5. White power

    Get over it? They should sterilize everybody living on government assistance, those people way back when were just trying to avoid the mess were faced with now. People laid up getting a check and foodstamps, doing drugs, drinking beer, and having more kids to get more money. At least the mexicans will work?

    August 1, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  6. Bilinda

    Why is the question always the same? "when and how much will I be compensated".

    April 4, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
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