In the first half of the 20th century, approximately 60,000 people were sterilized under U.S. eugenics programs. Eugenic laws in 32 states (including Iowa) empowered government officials in public health, social work and state institutions to render people they deemed “unfit” infertile.
A University of Michigan-based research team, including Nicole Novak, now a postdoctoral research scholar with the UI Prevention Research Center in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health, recently published research examining California’s sterilization programs. The researchers found that Latino men were 23 percent more likely to be sterilized than non-Latino men. The difference was even greater among women, with Latinas sterilized at 59 percent higher rates than non-Latinas.