GWS 10 Quiz: “Sterilized in the Name of Public Health- Race, Immigration, and Reproductive Control in Modern California”– Alexandra Stern

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Gender And Women'S Studies
GWS 10
Barbara Barnes

GWS 10– “Sterilized in the Name of Public Health: Race, Immigration, and Reproductive Control in Modern California”– Alexandra Stern Sterilization law ● In 1979, Assemblyman Art Torres, chairman of the Health Committee, introduced a bill to the legislature to repeal the state’s sterilization law ● Torres asserted that the law was “outdated” and that the criteria used to authorize a sterilization order had “no meaning in modern medical terminology” Madrigal v. Quilligan ● Several residents of a predominantly Latino Los Angeles district sued the Women’s Hospital at the County General for non consensual sterilizations in 1975 ● Plaintiffs in Madrigal v. Quilligan: working class Mexican women who had been coerced into postpartum tubal ligations after undergoing cesarean deliveries ● These procedures were financed by federal agencies that began to disperse funds in conjunction with the family planning initiatives of the War on Poverty, launched by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 ● The experiences of the Mexican-origin women who suffered at the County General mirror those of the African American, Puerto Rican, and Native American women who came forth with comparable stories during the same years Justifying Sterilization: From Defective Heredity to Overpopulation ● The US’s first sterilization law was passed in Indiana in 1907 and was motivated by the eugenic family studies of supposedly defective lineages ○ It granted the medical superintendents of asylums and prisons the authority to “asexualize” a patient or inmate to improve “physical, mental, or moral condition” ● The law was expanded in 1913 and 1917, when clauses were added to shield physicians against legal retaliation and to foreground a eugenic, rather than penal, rationale for surgery ○ It also targeted inmates afflicted with “various grades of feeble mindedness” and “perversion or marked departures from normal mentality or from disease of a syphilitic nature.” ● California
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