Labeled “Feeble Minded” and forced to contract services

By Maria Mangicaro
Unlike any other health condition, mental, behavioral or emotional health conditions overlap into our criminal justice system, leaving those in need of help incarcerated and at the mercy of limited services and treatment options.
Historically, mental health laws are unique because they have been designed to employ and empower medical opinion who select specific treatment options. Coercive mental health treatment contributed to the proliferation of the psychopharmacological revolution.
Sanctioned by the Supreme Court in Buck v. Bell(1927), many individuals labeled with a mental disorder become part of a class of people who can be deprived equal protection, civil liberties and the liberty to contract. They are in need of a strong, ethical and united advocacy agenda that promotes best-practice standards of treatment and care.



Uploaded by Amen Ptah on Apr 4, 2011

Uploaded by Dan Currier on Nov 2, 2011

By the end of 1960’s more that 60% of the people sterilized under
North Carolina’s Eugenics laws were black, of those, 99% were female.

The Eugenics movement claimed that feeblemindedness; mental illness, genetic defects,
and social ills could be eliminated by sterilization.

Social workers and psychologist often labeled ordinary people feebleminded
based on inconclusive evidence. Between 1929 and 1974 more than 7,600
people were sterilized under North Carolina’s Eugenics laws.

“Labeled” is the story of Elaine Riddick, is one of those women.

Uploaded by UrbanWarfareChannel on Jan 8, 2012

Published on May 31, 2012 by Anderson

Elaine, a victim of forced sterilization makes it clear — “I’m gonna speak for the victims that will not, cannot, the one’s that are dead. I am gonna be your voice and I’m not going to just stop here.”

Tune in to “Anderson” to see the original broadcast on Thursday, May 31st.

Contemporary Carrie Buck?

Recently, a 35-year-old woman sued a Boston-area hospital for performing a tubal ligation, thus sterilizing her, after the birth of her 9th child. Tessa Savicki states that she requested an IUD, a reversible form of birth control. Because two of her children are on welfare and she is unemployed, Tessa’s case has sparked passionate reactions and brings to mind the case of Carrie Buck.

The similarities are numerous. A poor woman sterilized against her wishes, judged by others to be unfit (just read the public comments on the news sites featuring Tessa’s story), and having children out of wedlock. There is even a slight physical resemblance. Expert testimony during the Buck vs Bell case in 1927 argued that members of the Buck family “belong to the shiftless, ignorant, and worthless class of anti-social whites.” The Supreme Court concurred “that Carrie Buck is the probable potential parent of socially inadequate offspring, likewise afflicted, that she may be sexually sterilized without detriment to her general health and that her welfare and that of society will be promoted by her sterilization.” Whether Tessa’s doctors were thinking the same thing or just made a mistake, they sent the same message.

Tessa Savicki (image from the Boston Herald) and Carrie and Emma Buck

It’s hard to believe that 83 years separate these stories. Read more about Carrie Buck on the Eugenics Archive site.


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