Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

WV State News

April 10, 2013

W.Va. forced-sterilization law faces repeal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A unanimous West Virginia Legislature has voted to repeal a law that had allowed for involuntary sterilizations.

The Senate agreed to send Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin a House-passed measure striking down the statute on Tuesday.

The law allowed forced sterilization of people deemed mentally incompetent. State officials say it was applied regularly in the 1920s and '30s.

But science has debunked views held then that human traits considered defective could be eliminated through sterilization.

Officials say West Virginia's law hadn't been used since the 1950s. They also believe it may be the last such law among the states.

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