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HISTORICAL & CURRENT AFFAIRS IN REPRODUCTIVE (in)JUSTICE




2019 A Nashville federal court terminated a controversial program for inmates in White County that offered reduced sentences for those convicted of misdemeanors who agreed to tubal ligations or vasectomies.

2013 Center for Investigative reporting stated that between 2006 -2010, nearly 150 women were sterilized in California’s prisons. These sterilizations were done either by coercion or without inmates’ knowledge.

1973-1976 More than 3,000 sterilizations were performed by providers of Native American healthcare that left an estimated 25 percent of Native women infertile. With the large population growth and push to control minority women, money from the U.S. government was funneled through federal and state programs as a means of controlling the Indian population. The intended impact was marketed as offering Native women reproductive autonomy.

1970s Pregnant Mexican American women in Los Angeles were sterilized during labor and while unable to give informed consent on necessary documents. Legislation from a class action lawsuit now ensures sterilizations can no longer be offered during birth and that no documents can be issued within 72 hours of giving birth. An interpreter must also be available.

1930-1970s One-third of Puerto Rican women were used as contraceptive test subjects to figure out proper dosage before marketing safe dosage of birth control to primarily white women in the United States. Puerto Rican women were given unregulated contraceptive methods which lead to unintentional sterilization. The government felt they were great test subjects due to overpopulation, poverty, and unemployment.

1924-1927 Teenager Carrie Buck is classified as socially defective and a threat to the nation by physicians seeking to sterilize her after she fell pregnant (the result of rape by a cousin). The case went all the way to the Supreme Court—where the Buck v Bell decision resolved the sterilization to be warranted and necessary to cut off the tide of weak and defective Americans.

1907 Indiana becomes the first state in the U.S. to establish a sterilization policy aimed at policing and restricting the ability of “defective” and sub-standard citizens from reproducing.

1830s James Marion Sims, an antebellum-period gynecologist conducted horrendous, often life-threatening procedures on enslaved Black women without anesthesia. His “research” earned him the title “the father of gynecology” among his peers.

THE ACUMEN GROUP