On this day of raised voices supporting women and their right to choose, we need to remind ourselves what government control of reproduction meant for women who were deemed unfit
The American version of the Eugenics movement sought to improve social welfare by discouraging births of certain types or classes, or births among certain social groups, and by encouraging other types of births. This line of thinking has had a long history in the United States. Early in the twentieth century, eugenicist ideas,were commonly accepted among elites in the United States. More than thirty states had sterilization laws that provided for the involuntary sterilization of so-called "socially unfit" individuals, which could mean simply women who were poor and ill-educated. Women patients in certain large teaching hospitals could be sterilized at the time they gave birth without their informed consent or even knowledge. And women were routinely sterilized after giving birth in those places known as homes for unwed mothers.
After a wave of public outcry following WWII, the practice of sterilizing unwed women declined. However as late as 1958, Mississippi State Representative David H. Glass sponsored an unsuccessful bill to "... Discourage the Immorality of Unmarried Females by Providing for Sterilization of the Unwed Mother under Conditions of the Act; and for Related Purposes."