Secret History of Sterilisation - Audio

Secret History of Sterilisation - Audio

The Open University

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The history of the sterilisation of women with learning disabilities is highly controversial and remains, to a large extent, a secret. Preventing intellectually disabled women from having children was actively canvassed across the Western world in the early 20th century as a solution to the ‘problem of mental deficiency’. In some countries, dark, forbidding institutions enforced sterilisations and actively prevented social and sexual activity among residents. But as we hear in this moving programme presented by Liz Tilley from The Open University, the reasons behind decisions to sterilise these women were complex and sometimes unexpected. As new research is being published and the decision-making capacity of people with learning disabilities is being taken more seriously, women have started to tell their own stories. We hear the voices of the survivors themselves, in particular Leilani Muir, who brought a landmark case against the Province of Alberta, Canada, in the 1990s for wrongful sterilisation in the 1959 - and won.
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The history of the sterilisation of women with learning disabilities is highly controversial and remains, to a large extent, a secret. Preventing intellectually disabled women from having children was actively canvassed across the Western world in the early 20th century as a solution to the ‘problem of mental deficiency’. In some countries, dark, forbidding institutions enforced sterilisations and actively prevented social and sexual activity among residents. But as we hear in this moving programme presented by Liz Tilley from The Open University, the reasons behind decisions to sterilise these women were complex and sometimes unexpected. As new research is being published and the decision-making capacity of people with learning disabilities is being taken more seriously, women have started to tell their own stories. We hear the voices of the survivors themselves, in particular Leilani Muir, who brought a landmark case against the Province of Alberta, Canada, in the 1990s for wrongful sterilisation in the 1959 - and won.
...Read More