(BCN editor’s note: Elaine Riddick is back in the news. This post was first published in 2014.)
Pro-life group Maafa 21 posted a video of a woman named Elaine Riddick, who was sterilized at 14 in 1968 in North Carolina. After she and her siblings were declared wards of the state, some were sent to an orphanage, while Riddick and a sister went to live with their grandmother. A man raped Riddick (13 at the time), and she became pregnant. A social worker learned of the pregnancy, the state labeled Riddick feeble-minded, and the social worker pressured her grandmother to consent to sterilization. The illiterate woman signed an “X” on the consent form purportedly without knowing it was a sterilization consent form.
Riddick found out that she was sterile at 19. North Carolina sterilized over 7,600 people (ages 10 to 19) from 1929 to 1974. It’s hard to believe in 2014 that something like this could have happened. The government decided what was best for a young girl who’d been raped, and took away her ability to have more children. This is what happens when we devalue human life, whether based on race or convenience.