Quick Hit: California investigates sterilizations of prisoners

Prison bars

Last year, the Center for Investigative Reporting exposed to the country what California-based prisoners and advocates had known for years: women in the state’s prisons were being sterilized against their will. Now, the AP reports:

State auditors found 39 cases where female state prison inmates may not have understood they were submitting to medical procedures that would leave them sterile, according to a report released Thursday that recommended authorities investigate the doctors and hospitals involved.

State law prohibits inmates from elective sterilizations as methods of birth control. However, prison officials allow sterilizations in cases deemed medically necessary.

The audit was prompted by the Center for Investigative Reporting, which last year found that doctors sterilized nearly 150 female prisoners without obtaining proper consent. Auditors confirmed 144 cases between 2006 and 2013 in which inmates had their fallopian tubes tied or cut for the sole purpose of birth control.

The report identified 39 “unlawful” cases with apparent violations of state rules requiring inmates understand the nature and permanence of the procedures.

Read the article, learn more from Justice Now, and sign a petition calling for the end of this abuse

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Alexandra Brodsky is an editor at Feministing, student at Yale Law School, and founding co-director of Know Your IX. Full disclosure: she was a student intern with Justice Now.

Washington, DC

Alexandra Brodsky was a senior editor at Feministing.com. During her four years at the site, she wrote about gender violence, reproductive justice, and education equity and ran the site's book review column. She is now a Skadden Fellow at the National Women's Law Center and also serves as the Board Chair of Know Your IX, a national student-led movement to end gender violence, which she co-founded and previously co-directed. Alexandra has written for publications including the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Guardian, and the Nation, and she is the co-editor of The Feminist Utopia Project: 57 Visions of a Wildly Better Future. She has spoken about violence against women and reproductive justice at campuses across the country and on MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, ESPN, and NPR.

Alexandra Brodsky was a senior editor at Feministing.com.

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