The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is in trouble for sterilizing female inmates. Nearly 150 women were allegedly coerced into undergoing tubal ligations as recently as 2010, and nearly 100 more may have been forced to undergo the procedure dating back to the 1990s. Naturally, the allegations have set off a debate over the government and compulsory sterilization.
Considering the practice was used in Nazi Germany, it's no surprise. But is this really the worst thing that could have happened to pregnant felons?
Consider this: the women all got free tubal ligations. The state paid doctors $147,460 over the years to tie women's tubes. Tubal ligations aren't cheap, and these women didn't have to pay for them.
All the women at the California Institution for Women in Corona or Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla who got their tubes tied were pregnant when they say they were "coerced" into this.
Maybe they were coerced. It's not good that someone took advantage of people who were locked up and sterilized them.
But what about the babies they didn't have? What about their lives? Don't they matter?
When these women get out (or got out) of prison, they're convicted felons. Any babies they have going forward are going to be the children of women who will have a harder time getting jobs and making ends meet.
Would that really be good for these kids? Having a mom who has a hard time getting a job?
Technically, these women should have the right to have as many kids as they want.
But what about the rights of their (future) kids?
This is what makes forced sterilization such a touchy subject. On a legal level, it's not fair. It clearly violates women's rights, and it's a clear violation of authority. But morally, we need to think about the rights of future progeny too.
So who wins? The women or the babies they'd put through being the children of convicted felons?
Do you think the State of California was wrong here or should these women be ashamed of themselves for considering having more kids?
Image via derekskey/Flickr