Involuntary Sterilization and Related Issues

              John C. Bowen MD, OB/GYN physician at Associates for Women’s Medicine in Syracuse NY and a member of the NAHOF Cabinet of Freedom, will examine 19thcentury views of science, progress, evolution, and eugenics linking those views with progress in medicine and surgery and their application to 20th century social engineering. While scientific progress brought benefits to many, some people were victimized either inadvertently or through specific targeting. Some early 20thcentury progressives embraced aspects of eugenics and social engineering as a means to improving the quality of life in overcrowded cities. These ideas were carried to excess or perverted into sterilizing people with undesirable traits such as mental illness, deformities, and criminal behavior. Dr Bowen will discuss why sterilization policies in combination with other historical and unethical medical events have left us with persisting distrust of medical care among the poor and communities of color. This has ramifications in the current covid-19 pandemic as well as other diseases primarily affecting black women such as HPV, cervical cancer, and maternal mortality. Dr. Bowen grew up in the Finger Lakes region of NY, attended Medical School in Buffalo with a residency in Pittsburgh, PA and the USAF in Cheyenne, WY.  Since 1992 Bowen has lived in Hamilton NY. He states, “I have always enjoyed studying the regional history whereever I have lived. The “burned over” region of New York is especially rich and inspirational. The nation would be immensely rewarded if it looked to the history of this region for guidance into the future.”


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