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Female prison inmates in California were sterilized without state approval in recent years, according to a new report by the Center for Investigative Reporting.
An inmate at California Institute for Women state prison in Chino, Calif., hugs her daughter during a Mother's Day visit.
Doctors in California prisons sterilized nearly 150 female inmates between 2006 and 2010 without state approval, according to a report.
The Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that doctors at two women’s prisons in California sterilized 148 women between 2006 and 2010 after they gave birth, with as many as 100 more in the years before that and without following proper procedures.
California, which has a long history of forced sterilization, banned the procedure in state prisons in 1979. Because of the state’s grim history, a number of laws were put in place including that state-funded tubal ligations (having one's fallopian tubes tied) be approved by a medical review committee and that inmates must give consent. Because of this, it would be illegal to pressure a female inmate to agree to the procedure while she is going through labor or childbirth.
But former inmates at the California Institution for Women in Corona and the Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla claim they were pressured to undergo the procedure while they were pregnant and in prison. Doctors allegedly targeted inmates they thought were likely to be repeat offenders or already had many children.
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According to former Valley State inmate Christina Cordero, 34, the institution's OB-GYN doctor pressured her to have a tubal ligation.
“As soon as he found out that I had five kids, he suggested that I look into getting it done. The closer I got to my due date, the more he talked about it,” she said. “He made me feel like a bad mother if I didn’t do it.”
Cordero, who spent two years in prison for auto theft, agreed, but said, “today I wish I would have never done it.”