Female Inmates in CA ‘Empowered’ with Forced Sterilizations?

Holy Hormones Journal: Holy Hormones Honey!  Sterilizing women who are serving multiple prison terms?  Chances are by the time they get out -they will be past their child bearing years. Unless of course, women are being raped in prison. That is a horrible thought.  But I do know this… I was contacted by a male administrator at an institution for women with severe mental illness – and he was relating that women were forced to go on Depo Provera – without informed consent (since they are highly medicated and deep in their mood disorders.) Of course, the Depo allowed menstruation management to be much easier, but on the flip side – the women were being secretly raped without fear of pregnancy.

According to Johnson –  Daun Martin, the top medical manager from 2005 to 2008,  “characterized tubal ligation’s as an empowerment issue for female inmates, providing them the same options as women on the outside.” Serious? Empowerment? Women have lost their freedom, their power and taking the last bastion of power they have left – the ability to reproduce is forcefully stripped. How is this empowerment?

One more area where women are being disembodied – against their will.

Female inmates sterilized in California prisons without approval

Center for Investigative Reporting
Corey G. Johnson

July 7, 2013

 Crystal Nguyen, with her 6-year-old son, Neiko, in Pittsburg, Calif., is a former Valley State Prison for Women inmate. She worked in the prison's infirmary in 2007 and says she often overheard medical staff asking inmates who had served multiple prison terms to agree to be sterilized. Credit: Noah Berger/For The Center for Investigative Reporting

Credit: Noah Berger/For The Center for Investigative Reporting

Doctors under contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sterilized nearly 150 female inmates from 2006 to 2010 without required state approvals, The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

At least 148 women received tubal ligation’s in violation of prison rules during those five years – and there are perhaps 100 more dating back to the late 1990s, according to state documents and interviews.

From 1997 to 2010, the state paid doctors $147,460 to perform the procedure, according to a database of contracted medical services for state prisoners.

The women were signed up for the surgery while they were pregnant and housed at either the California Institution for Women in Corona or Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, which is now a men’s prison.

Former inmates and prisoner advocates maintain that prison medical staff coerced the women, targeting those deemed likely to return to prison in the future.

Crystal Nguyen, a former Valley State Prison inmate who worked in the prison’s infirmary during 2007, said she often overheard medical staff asking inmates who had served multiple prison terms to agree to be sterilized.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s not right,’ ” Nguyen, 28, said. “Do they think they’re animals, and they don’t want them to breed anymore?”

One former Valley State inmate who gave birth to a son in October 2006 said the institution’s OB-GYN, Dr. James Heinrich, repeatedly pressured her to agree to a tubal ligation.

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Source: Californian female prisoners pressured into sterilization

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.