Attorney General Lockyer Issues Apology for Early 20th Century Policy Authorizing Involuntary Sterilization

Tuesday, March 11, 2003
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today issued a formal apology for the injustice done to Californians when the state permitted and promoted involuntary sterilization of the disabled, mentally ill and others.

The Attorney General's apology was contained in a letter sent to Senator Dede Alpert who chaired a State Senate committee meeting today entitled, "Eugenics: Lessons from a History Hiding in Plain Sight." Lockyer's apology was prompted by today's hearing and opinions issued by prior attorneys general, including Ulysses S. Webb (1902-39), during the early part of the 20th Century endorsing eugenics through involuntary sterilization.

The Attorney General's letter to Senator Alpert is attached.

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PDF icon 03-028.pdf39.45 KB
PDF icon 03-028.pdf39.45 KB