Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Eileen Kane on Law, Policy and Biotechnology

I want to take this opportunity to recommend the new blog of my colleague, Eileen M. Kane--KaneBioLaw.

Professor Kane's most recent post provides a good example fo the focus of posts: N.C. Task Force to Set Compensation for Victims of Eugenics Program, Dec. 14, 2011. 

The last N.C. compulsory sterilization law was repealed in 2003. Fast forward to 2011. This year, the governor signed an executive order establishing a task force to decide on compensation for the victims of the program. Claimants can file on behalf of themselves or others. Task force hearings have been held, and claimants have testified on the lasting damage they incurred under the program. What remains to be seen is the compensation figure (N.C. is the first state to institute this mechanism of redress for victims); the task force has considered payments between $20,000 and $50,000. If this is the first state-sponsored compensation scheme, the payments may signal a complicated monetization of fundamental rights, victim status, delay, and shame that sets a precedent, even with an acknowledgement that it is not possible to establish any precise figure for what was lost to these victims. More broadly, the seemingly archaic U.S. eugenics programs of the 20th century remain very socially and legally relevant as modern genetics provides fertile ground for new theories of human fitness and possible misuse by state authorities.

(PICTURE From Black Feminism Lives!, "Elaine Riddick was 13 years old when she got pregnant after being raped by a neighbor in Winfall, N.C., in 1967.  The state ordered that immediately after giving birth, she should be sterilized.  Doctors cut and tied off her fallopian tubes. . . .  o read more about this story, click here. Dr. Nancy Snyderman’s full broadcast report, ‘State of Shame’, airs Monday, November 7, at 10pm/9c on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams.")

 Professor Kane's work can be accessed at the Social Science Research Network

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