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Constitutional Law Keyed to Barnett
Buck v. Bell
Citation:274 U.S. 200 (1927)
Plaintiff Carrie Buck was an eighteen-year-old woman who was committed to a state institution for people with mental disabilities. Buck was the first individual in the state who was forcibly sterilized pursuant to a Virginia law allowing institutions to sterilize patients against their will. The law was passed pursuant to Virginia’s police power to promote the “health of the patient and the welfare of society.” The law required certain procedures to be followed before forcible sterilization could occur, including notice to the patient and right to appeal. Buck argued that the Virginia law violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.
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