The Right to Control What is Inalienably Ours

A poster from a 1921 eugenics conference displ...

A poster from a 1921 eugenics conference displays the U.S. states that had implemented sterilization legislation by then (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As an African-American woman activist, both racial justice and gender equality are important to me.  Thus, I was appalled when I read about the state of North Carolina’s history with eugenic sterilizations.  North Carolina sterilized 7,600 people through its sweeping eugenic sterilization program and “the targets of the sterilization were disproportionately Black and female, and almost universally poor.”

Johanna Schoen, a Rutgers University historian who has extensively documented the state’s eugenics policy, stated, “The eugenic sterilization really was an attempt to control the reproduction of women on welfare more than anything else.”

North Carolina’s eugenic sterilizations is an example of what can happen when you dehumanize people based upon race, gender, and socio-economic status.  Once you dehumanize a ‘class’ of people, then it becomes easier to treat them like animals.

We are not animals, thus we do not need to be controlled.  We are human beings, and as such, we deserve to be treated with respect.

Today, across the United States, women’s health, including reproductive rights, continue to be attacked, encroached upon, and is the subject of congressional testimonies, Supreme Court rulings, and local, state-based initiatives.

How many times do we have to speak out against ignorance a la “…in instances of ‘legitimate rape’ women’s bodies somehow block an unwanted pregnancy…” and “…when they make victimhood a coveted status that confers privilege…,” before the nonsense ceases?

Women’s rights are human rights, therefore, it is in every human being’s interest to respect and advocate for our ability to control what is inalienably ours – our health.

Do you agree?

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Adiyah Ali

I have over 10 years of experience in grassroots and community organizing, facilitation and training, communications and outreach, issue advocacy and policy development, and have a proven track record in advancing social and economic justice campaigns in support of marginalized and disadvantaged populations.As a Project Specialist with Campaign Consultation, Inc. I provide communications and content development support for national service clients such as the Social Innovation Fund and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. Read more.