In 1997, Norway and Sweden received a heavy beating in the media upon the revelation that sterilizations had been routinely performed by the state as an instrument of social policy up until the 70s. Whilst international opinion was quick at hand to condemn the sterilizations and did not shy away from immediate comparisons to “Third Reich” practices, the facts and figures remained murky, unclear or even plain wrong. But how many sterilizations had really taken place, and more importantly, how many had been conducted against patients’ wills? Siri Haavie investigates the reasoning behind the sterilizations and asks whether it is time to reassess our sometimes all-to righteous moral outrage on sterilization.
9 April 2003