Familial Borderlands: Women of All Red Nations and the Fight Against Coerced Sterilizations

Historical Question: How Did American Indian Women Experience And Respond to Corerced Sterilizations?  

Earlier this year, while conducting research on American-Indian women activists groups, I came across No Más Bebés, an independent documentary promoted by Renee Tajima-Peña[1] This heart-wrenching account told the story of Latina women in Los Angeles, in the 1960s-1970s, who underwent surgery for a tubal ligation (having one’s “tubes tied”) after doctors at a Los Angeles County hospital coerced them to sign medical release forms. In other words, while Latina women were going through labor at a L.A. County hospital, doctors solicited them to sign English-only medical release forms to perform tubal ligation. Some doctors obtained these signatures from minority patients 1) who did not speak English, 2) while under the influence of pain medication, or 3) while being denied pain medication until a signature was obtained.

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