“If I could have had a family, I probably would have had two or three children.  I think about that all the time.  And sometimes I just cry because the people done me wrong. I cry when I see a lady pregnant, and I know she’s going to have a baby”
— Lewis Reynolds

Beginning in 1907, states in the US began to forcibly sterilize over 60,000 Americans — people considered by scientists to be “unfit” — the mentally ill, the disabled, the morally suspect. Now, a few states are trying to figure out what they owe to the program’s survivors.



Sterilized was reported by Jess Engebretson and edited by Annie Aviles with sound design and production by Shani Aviram. Special thanks to Michael Scholar Jr. for voice acting on this episode. The team had production support from Alyssa Bernstein, Jonathan Hirsch, Ashley Cleek, Kirsten Jusewicz-Haidle and Nancy Mullane.

Full Transcript of Sterilized





This episode of Life of the Law was funded in part by grants from the Open Society Foundation, the Law and Society Association, the Proteus Fund and the National Science Foundation.

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