An investigation has revealed that California’s prisons have been routinely sterilizing female prisoners. The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) released a report that found that prison doctors have performed tubal ligations on nearly 150 female inmates from 2006 to 2010 without required state approvals.
These women are human beings – not lab animals. No matter what crime they have committed they are still children of God, created in His image, and deserving of being treated with decency. They are entitled to decide whether they are sterilized.
Most of us thought such barbaric practices as compulsory sterilization were a thing of the past. In the last century, California and 31 other states had laws that singled out minority groups, the poor, the disabled, the mentally ill, and criminals as inferior and sterilized them to prevent them from spreading their genes.
These laws were based on the pseudo-science of “eugenics,” popularized by Margaret Sanger who founded Planned Parenthood. Eugenicists believed that they could “purify” the human race by preventing “defectives” from reproducing.
Between 1909 and 1964, about 20,000 women and men in California were stripped of the ability to reproduce – making the state the nation’s most prolific sterilizer. California developed a reputation as the leading practitioner of the racial theories of eugenics, and historians report that in the 1930s Nazi Germany sought the advice of the state’s eugenics leaders.
This sordid record of abuse was later criticized, and in 2003 the state Senate held two hearings to expose this history, featuring testimony from researchers, academics, and state officials. In response, then-Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Governor Gray Davis issued formal apologies.
“Our hearts are heavy for the pain caused by eugenics. It was a sad and regrettable chapter in the state’s history, and it is one that must never be repeated again,” Davis said.
Interestingly, Corrections Director Alameida declined to participate in the hearing, saying that the prison system had no records of sterilizations.
Following a national uproar about the sterilizations, federal law bans inmate sterilizations if federal funds are used, reflecting concerns that prisoners might feel pressured to comply. California uses state funds instead, but since 1994, the procedure has required approval from top medical officials in Sacramento on a case-by-case basis.
Not a single request for a tubal ligation has come before the health care committee responsible for approving such restricted surgeries. Yet, the state paid doctors $147,460 to perform tubal ligations from 1997 to 2010.
Dr. Heinrich, the OB-GYN at Valley State Prison proudly admits to having performed many tubal ligations. He was paid for each one, even though the state did not approve any of them, He thinks he deserves praise. The cost of the sterilizations is a good deal “compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children—as they procreated more.”
That is the same utilitarian philosophy that has been used to justify many horrible acts in the last hundred years -not just in Nazi Germany, but in “progressive” California, too.