Amazing to read of a truly compassionate social worker speaking of trying to bend the rules to get her client into the eugenics program - at the client's request - because she's 33 and can barely manage with the five children she already has. This is 1960, the year that oral contraceptives were first approved by the FDA, and sterilization is the only truly reliable birth control available to poor people. Then in the same chapter, read about that same client begging that same social worker not to enroll her legally blind son in the same program, and the social worker agreeing to put it off for another year, but worried that he's old enough to start making babies. And neither one are arguing against the morality or rightness of forced sterilization of a poor black boy because he has a congenital disability, but only worrying that he's too young and shouldn't have to face the pain of surgery yet.
His voice trembled. It was 10:53, a couple of hours after he'd heard. He'd had a good cry already, a heaving, sobbing, why-me of a lament in Sara's arms. He wasn't the shit heel or the dummy. He didn't disrespect the game or treat the privilege of playing baseball with anything less than the finest effort. Not that he believed any of those things mattered. Baseball wasn't casting judgement on him. The arm is just merciless.
It's so hard to believe that there was a time when a physician could decide to withhold birth control from his patient until he discussed it with her husband and obtained the husband's consent. But I know it's true - I've heard the stories. And some people talk about the 1950s-1960's as though they were the "good old days"!