Published on 5th September 2016 by

Sterilized Behind Bars (2013): Eugenics is a concept so universally despised it is hard to imagine its existence in the Western world. But in California the forced sterilization of women in prisons is a terrifying, cruel reality.

For similar stories, see:
Inside Sierra Leone’s Sexist Prison System

Kenya’s Imprisoned Women Fighting For Freedom Together

Thousands Of Afghan Women Jailed For ‘Moral Crimes’

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“Tubal ligation, what are you talking about? I don’t want any procedure. I just want to have my baby”, one prisoner says, recounting how she went in to deliver her baby and ended up having a sterilization procedure forced upon her. Between 2006 and 2010 148 women were forced to undergo procedures like this. “We’re basically society’s trash in a lot of eyes, so it’s easy for them to just treat us as such”, Misty Rojo, a former inmate of Valley State Women’s Prison, says. She argues that the prison system makes it very easy to force through the terrible sterilization procedures, because prisoners learn to just follow orders so that they can get out quickly. “You feel compelled to comply. Because that’s what you do in there. It’s not very consensual.” Crystal, who worked in the infirmary of Dr Heinrich, the main GYN doctor in California, saw first hand how he pressurised women to be sterilized. Dr Heinrich is now being investigated, but so far the hearings to uncover what really happened haven’t brought answers.

The Center For Investigative Reporting – Ref. 6001

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