Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 5-10-2019


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Health Care Ethics


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Henk ten Have

Committee Member

Gerard Magill

Committee Member

Joris Gielen


Eugenics, Sterilization, Reproductive Justice


The history of forced sterilization and the American cultural agreement with this practice robbed women of color of control of their own bodies, destinies, and communities. Negative eugenics as genetic proof of low intelligence, low possibility, and low productivity fed the system of compulsory sterilization even though the science proved faulty and incorrect. As advances in medical technology and genetic science increases, eugenics is making a return into the American psyche. Vulnerable populations which include women of color make reproduction and the subsequent control of their bodies vulnerable once again.

The Reproductive Justice Movement is a collaboration of organized women of color who fight for the full range of reproductive rights, health services, and parenting options for women. The movement formed by the group SisterSong, forged partnerships based on an expanded vision of reproductive rights beyond pro-choice or pro-life politics. The Movement produced a “March for Women’s Lives” which is the largest single civil rights march in the history of the United States. One major strategic move was the decision to position reproductive rights as “human rights with a connection to the UNESCO Declaration on Human Rights. It is necessary to ethically justify their framework according to traditional health care ethics principles. The framework was also analyzed against the traditional protections for women of color who are medical research subjects and who are vulnerable according to their intersectionality.