Karen Y.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver Heritage Fair

Reproduction Deduction

This project discusses the Alberta Sexual Sterilization Act of 1928 (an act enabling the sterilization of people deemed unfit to breed in order to cleanse the gene pool) and why its passing was considered justified.



What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

The most interesting thing I learned was that the act was considered quite progressive at the time. It really shows how much views have changed since then. I was also surprised by the fact that many influential Canadians - such as the Famous Five - openly supported the act.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

The most important lesson that I learned was that the reasoning behind controversial acts is always complex. Sometimes the "justification" is a lack of knowledge. Other times, it's prejudice. Reasoning is not always black and white.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

Compared to disabled people at the time: I have control over my reproductive rights, and people don't normally write degrading, stereotyped articles about me. Compared to the people who passed the act: Nowadays, more and more people know that they should not be able to control others' bodies, and that forcibly sterilizing others is morally incorrect.