The sterilisation campaign of Women With Disabilities Australia has gone global. . The Global Campaign to Stop Torture in Health Care has done a piece on our Exec Director, Carolyn Frohmader as their featured campaigner. Attached to the piece is a letter to Australian Attorney General Robert McClelland that people can send just by pressing their send button.
Douglas Wahlsten has emailed to inform us of a publication in the Winston-Salem Journal on the story of Leilani Muir: the court battle (and victory) over wrongful sterilization, compensation, and the numerous cases that followed. Wahlsten explores these as a potential model to be used in cases of sterilization compensation in the United States, while also noting the recent promotion of the Canadian Eugenics’ past with the CURA funded Living Archives Project and the NFB documentary on the Leilani Muir case.
The award for sterilization followed existing rules in Alberta about an upper limit of damages for loss of the ability to have children from injury. Other jurisdictions may have another limit or even no limit at all. Consider the recent case of Evans vs Lorillard, where a man was awarded $152 million because the tobacco giant gave cigarettes to his mother when she was a child, and she became addicted and eventually died of lung cancer.
What would be the award if a woman lost her ability to have children because of a mistake during surgery or an auto accident? It seems this would be a reasonable standard for an award to victims of eugenic sterilization. To give them less implies they do not deserve the same respect as other people. Surely the amount should exceed the $20,000 proposed for victims of eugenics in North Carolina, because having children is a precious thing.
An article posted to the St. Albert Gazette explains how the family of a 13-year old foster child, who died shortly after leaving foster care, is seeking funding and payments for a lawyer to represent them in an inquiry into her death. The inquiry is meant to shed light on the girl’s death, with the aim of preventing further foster-care related injury or death.
Samantha Martin died in December 2006 after collapsing from an apparent heart attack. The inquiry is supposed to determine what caused the girl’s cardiac arrest.
Martin lived in foster care for most of her life; she was born with a rare chromosomal disorder and the government insisted the Martin family place her there to receive the necessary medical supports.
The Charlotte Observer has recently published an article on the story of Wallace Kuralt, a primary figure behind the eugenics movement in North Carolina. The article weaves between Kuralt’s personal story, his struggle to find a job during the depression, his desires and motivations, with the broader history of eugenics in North Carolina and the United States:
Compassionate. Visionary. A champion of women and the poor.
That’s the reputation that Wallace Kuralt built as Mecklenburg County’s welfare director from 1945 to 1972. Today, the building where Charlotte’s poor come for help bears his name – a name made even more prominent when his newscaster son, Charles Kuralt, rose to fame.
But as architect of Mecklenburg’s program of eugenic sterilization – state-ordered surgery to stop the poor and disabled from bearing children – Kuralt helped write one of the most shameful chapters of North Carolina history.
The World Medical Association in conjunction with the International Federation of Health and Human Rights Organizations issued a press release on 5 September 2011, calling for an end to forced sterilization. It is reproduced below, and is available at: http://www.wma.net/en/40news/20archives/2011/2011_17/index.html