Doctors with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation coerced up to almost 150 female inmates into accepting sterilization over a five-year period, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting in a recent report.
Former inmates say the medical staff pressured them into having tubal ligations, and the doctors did not obtain state-required approvals for the procedures between 2006 and 2010, the center reported.
At least 148 women received the procedures in violation of prison rules, and there may be at least 100 more in prior years, according to state documents.
The women were inmates at California Institution for Women in Corona or Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, and they were signed up for the surgical procedures while preganant.
Former inmates and prisoner advocates say the doctors seemed to target women who were likely to return to prison.
Former inmate Crystal Nguyen, who worked in the infirmary at Valley State Prison, said she often overheard medical staff pressuring inmates who had served multiple terms to agree to be sterilized.
“I was like, oh my God, that’s not right,” said Nguyen. “Do they think they’re animals, and they don’t want them to breed anymore?”
Christine Cordero, who has five children and spent two years in prison for auto theft, said, “The closer I got to my due date, the more (the doctor) talked about it. He made me feel like a bad mother if I didn’t do it. … Today, I wish I would have never had it done.”
Nikki Montano, mother of seven, was serving time for burglary and forgery. She said neither Heinrich nor the medical staff told her why she needed a tubal ligation. “I figured that’s just what happens in prison, that that’s the best kind of doctor you’re going get,” Montano said. “He never told me nothing about nothing.”
Kimberly Jeffrey says she was sedated and strapped to a table for a C-section in 2010 when the prison doctor pushed for her to be sterilized. “He said, ‘So we’re going to be doing this tubal ligation, right?'” Jeffrey said. “I’m like, tubal ligation? What are you talking about? I don’t want any procedure. I just want to have my baby. I went into a straight panic.”
Forcible sterilization of prisoners, the mentally ill and the poor used to be common in California, but the Legislature outlawed the practice in 1979.
One of the surgeons involved in the sterilizations, Dr. James Heinrich, denied pressuring anyone, but he did say spending taxpayer funds on the sterilizations saved the state money in the long run.
“Over a 10-year period, that isn’t a huge amount of money, compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children as they procreated more,” Heinrich said.
Psychologist Daun Martin, the medical manager at Valley State Prison from 2005 to 2008 said some pregnant women commit crimes so they can get healthcare in prison, and the sterilizations were a way of preventing that.
Martin denied approving the surgeries, but records show at least 60 occurred on her watch.
Federal and state laws ban use of federal funds for sterilizations, so California uses state funds for such procedures. Such surgeries have to be approved on a case-by-case basis by a medical board in Sacramento, however, no such requests have come before that board, records show.
Medical services in state prisons are tracked by the California Prison Health Care Receivership Corp. since 2006, when a judge ruled that the state prison system’s healthcare amounted to cruel and unusual punishment. Records show that the receiver knew about the sterilization surgeries.
Martin admitted that she only found out about the rules regarding sterilizations after an inmate filed a complaint, and that she and Heinrich began looking for ways around the restrictions because they felt the rules discriminated against women.
“I’m sure that on a couple of occasions, (Heinrich) brought an issue to me saying, ‘Mary Smith is having a medical emergency’ kind of thing, ‘and we ought to have a tubal ligation. She’s got six kids. Can we do it?'” Martin said. “And I said, well, if you document it as a medical emergency, perhaps.”
It’s a eugenicist’s fantasy. Reducing the population of “undesirables” has been a tool and goal of the Left and tyrants throughout the ages.
In the 20th century, Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood to prevent blacks and poor people from breeding, a mission it still performs today, as statistics show.
Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler both engaged in eugenics programs that killed millions outright and sterilized untold numbers of people deemed unfit.
China still enforces a one-child policy and involuntary sterilizations of women.
Prisoners may not be the most socially desirable group of people, but they are still human beings with fundamental rights.
That a “progressive” state like California would have apparently rogue officials ignoring the law and pressuring women into accepting sterilization is abominable, if not surprising.
No one deserves to be treated like an animal. If we don’t abide by that simple principle, then we are no better than Hitler or any of the other monsters who have made “survival of the fittest” their credo for a “pure” society.