September 28, 2006
Forced Sterilization Laws: The 100-Year History of Eugenics is the topic of Professor Lombardo's lecture, which will include the American experience and conclude with a review of the strange career of Georgia's Depression-era sterilization law.
Hosted by the College of Law and the Center for Law, Health & Society, the lecture will begin at 4 p.m. in the GSU Student Center Court Salon at 44 Courtland Street. Following the lecture, a welcome reception will be held for Professor Lombardo at 5:30 p.m.
In 1907, Indiana passed the first law in the world allowing state institutions to operate on patients to prevent them from bearing children. Twenty years later, the United States Supreme Court endorsed the constitutionality of eugenic sterilization in the infamous case of Buck v. Bell.
“Georgia was the last state to pass such a law in 1937,” Professor Lombardo explained. “By then the laws of more than 30 states allowed the practice, and eventually more than 60,000 people were sterilized in the U.S. During the same period, countries all over the world adopted sterilization laws, often following the U.S. example.”
Lombardo said the most notorious of those laws was passed in Nazi Germany and went into effect in 1934, where more than 400,000 people were sterilized. Reports of recent sterilization policies from China to Peru to Slovakia continue today.
Professor Lombardo's lecture is part of the Globalization and Public Health Symposium sponsored by Georgia State's Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics and co-sponsored by Georgia State's College of Law, Department of Philosophy, Department of Religious Studies, Institute for Public Health, Department of Biology and Center for Ethics-Student Forum. The event is free of charge and open to the public. Parking will be available across from the Student Center in Deck M on Auditorium Place for $6.
Professor Lombardo recently joined the Georgia State University College of Law faculty as Professor of Law, and he is leading a new interdisciplinary initiative in law, bioethics and science at the College's Center for Law, Health & Society. Professor Lombardo has published numerous articles on the history of eugenics, and is currently completing a book, The One Sure Cure: Eugenics, the Supreme Court and Buck v. Bell, which will be published by the Johns Hopkins University Press.