Sterilization in Sweden up to 19 Sweventy Six

Thursday, Dec 23, 2010

[In Sweden,] between 1934 and 1976, when the Sterilisation Act was finally repealed, 62,000 people, 90 percent of them women, were sterilised. 15-year-old teenagers were sterilised for "crimes" such as going to dance halls. One woman was sterilised in 1960 for being in a motorcycle gang. Orphans were sterilised as a condition of their release from children's homes. Others were pinpointed on the basis of local neighbourhood gossip and personal grudges. Some were targeted because of their "low intelligence", being of mixed race, being gypsies, or for physical defects.

Per head of population, however, only Nazi Germany sterilised more people than Sweden. How could such a programme be sustained in a country famed during the post-war epoch for its apparently enlightened social policy? The Sterilisation Act was passed in 1935, under the government of the Swedish social democratic party (SAP). The Act shortly preceded the founding of the so-called "Swedish model" of welfare capitalism, based on a vision of national unity between large corporations and workers.

People deemed likely to burden the state with the cost of child allowance payments were also targeted. When the new benefit was introduced in the 1950s, the rate of sterilisations doubled.

Social Democrats implemented measures to forcibly sterilise 62,000 people, Steve James, March 19, 1999, http://www.wsws.org/articles/1999/mar1999/euge-19m.shtml.