To add to catcran’s answer, according to the human rights blog (attached), more than 30,000 people were sterilized in the United States between 1907 and 1939. It was practiced by state, with the first state to allow it being Indiana. Eugenists believed in using scientific intervention in order to help regulate the economy and social inequalities. During the early twentieth century there was a boom of immigrants entering the United States – many of these immigrants remained in the poorer classes, taking whatever jobs they could take to make ends meet. Frustrated by the fact that the poor were reproducing more quickly than the elite, and the inability of government policy to address this growing phenomenon, Eugenists were determined to cleanse the gene pool of the lowly poorer classes, and additionally, anyone else they were determined to eliminate such as prostitutes, criminals, alcoholics, and the mentally ill. Slowly, sterilization stopped being practiced or outlawed completely, although it was still practiced as recently as the 1970s for the purpose of sterilizing the mentally ill. Please see the links for more information.
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