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California Lawmakers Question Sterilizations in California Prisons

Flickr user Steve Rhodes - Creative Commons

California lawmakers are raising questions about the unauthorized practice of sterilizing women in California prisons.

The federal receiver for health care in state prisons says doctors were directed to include post-partum procedures that prevented future pregnancy in inmates until 2010, even though the practice was against the state’s own regulations.

Republican State Senator Joel Anderson pushed for Tuesday’s hearing at the Capitol.

“A lot of these women that potentially are targeted are women of color, and they’re at a very moment where they can’t make clear choices for themselves, and we believe that these are basic human rights and that no women should be taken advantage of,” says Anderson.

Anderson says he and other lawmakers are considering a bi-partisan bill to ensure that sterilizations for birth control purposes are no longer offered in California prisons.

Prison health care officials say medically unnecessary sterilizations were stopped in 2010. 

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