Forced Sterilization on Female Inmates Is Sad But for a Greater Good

prisonThe 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

crime, discrimination


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nonmember avatar Lizzie Borden

Wow that's an absolutely idiotic arguement. As a society we don't coerce people into life changing operations, convicts or not. Maybe we should stop "stupid" people from having kids, or poor people, or ugly people, or people with religions we don't agree with....

Ashley Lott

I can't even believe that the author would think this is even a little okay. When they get out of prison, they have paid their debt to society for their crimes and are free to live the rest of their lives. These babies could be given up for adoption considering how many parents are struggling to concieve. And how do the tax payers of California feel about having to pay for these procedures. This is obviously unethical. Its black and white, no grey area. 

mamat... mamatreat

I'm sorry but to say these women were coerced is a bunch of bullshit. They are able minded women that looked at it as a free way to get their tubes tied. I'm so sick of people saying that grown ass adults can't simply be responsible for their own thinking/actions.

nonmember avatar kayla

as much i don't think killers do not deserve many rights, these women weren't killers and deserve the right to their bodies. i can't believe this article is actually posted.

Coles... Coles_mom

I think all women and men convicted of sexual crimes should be sterilized...whether they get out in a week or never.

mommy... mommyinthe303

Wouldn't they have to sign something?

keelh... keelhaulrose

Think of how you'd feel if a single one of these women were later found innocent, and left unable to have children because of this.

We aren't the Nazi's. We shoudn't be in the business of sterilizing women against their will. I cannot believe women are arguing in favor of this.

nonmember avatar mm

This author's opinion aside, please, everyone, re-read the original article (not the media frenzy spin offs). The only "hinky" bit of this news is that the procedures were not reviewed and approved by the right level of authority for the FUNDING. The women were offered tubal ligation during pregnancies that required C-sections. This is the same for EVERY OTHER pregnant mom in or out of the system. Women with multiple C-sections were informed of the risks of future pregnancies and thus given their birth control options. They all signed the consent forms. Sterilization, as it should be, should be a part of everyone's health care/birth control option package.

keelh... keelhaulrose

mommyinthe303- You're assuming they have the literacy level to read a medical release form, and comprehend it.

mamat... mamatreat

Please read the article. They were not actually forced to do this. It says they were "coerced." Basically they were asked if they wanted it and they said yes.

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