Lawmakers Weigh Apologizing For Eugenics

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A Vermont legislative committee is taking up the question of whether the state should apologize for a 20th century program to sterilize citizens who were labeled feeble-minded or criminal.

The House Human Services Committee takes testimony today on the measure. It would be a nonbinding resolution expressing the state’s regret about the so-called eugenics movement.

Backers of the resolution say its harms fell disproportionately on Vermonters of Abenaki and French-Canadian heritage, as well as poor Irish and Italian immigrants.

Vermont was one of many states that passed so-called eugenics laws in the 1920s and ’30s to try to prevent citizens labeled feeble-minded from having children.

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