CA Must Provide Compensation to Victims of Forced Sterilization

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

SACRAMENTO, CA – Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles) ​convened a press conference to highlight the importance of Assembly Bill 1764, a bill that will establish the Forced Sterilization Compensation Program to provide monetary compensation to those who were forcibly sterilized under California’s eugenics laws, as well as those sterilized without medical necessity or demonstrated informed consent while incarcerated.

“We often discuss a woman’s right to choose. A right that also includes the choice of becoming a mother. Unfortunately, that choice has been taken from many women, ​said Assemblymember Carrillo (D-51), “​As a state, we must ensure we rectify that wrong and we must do more than simply recognize the horrific impact of eugenic sterilization programs on Californian families, and the devastating consequences of this failed attempt to eradicate populations.”

In 1909, California state legislators approved legislation authorizing medical superintendents of state homes and hospitals to sterilize patients they deemed “unfit for reproduction.” California went on to administer more than 20,000 people in the United States. Those most targeted for involuntary sterilization were people of color, people with disabilities and the poorest and most vulnerable communities. AB 1764 would acknowledge two additional known periods of involuntary sterilizations: women of Mexican-origin who delivered babies at LA County+USC Medical Center between 1965-1975 and female inmates in California state prisons who were sterilized without proper authorization in 2006-2010.

In attendance, ​Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-61) noted​, “As the Chair of the Women’s Reproductive Health Select Committee I am committed to protecting the reproductive health and choice for ​all women. Our California values ensure that every woman has control and choice when it comes to their own bodies. We as Californians have the duty to acknowledge, apologize and compensate these women for the heinous practice of stealing their choice and imposing forcible sterilization.”

“The legacy of California’s eugenics law is well-known and as the prison sterilizations show, the repercussions continue to be felt,” ​said Laura Jimenez, Executive Director, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice. “As reproductive justice advocates, we recognize the insidious impact state-sponsored policies have on the dignity and rights of poor women of color who are often stripped of their ability to form the families they want. This bill is a step in the right direction in remedying the violence inflicted on these survivors.”

Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo was elected as the representative of the 51st Assembly District in December of 2017. She is a member of the Health, Appropriations, Utilities & Energy, Labor and Rules Committees. Carrillo represents the people of East Los Angeles, Northeast Los Angeles, and the neighborhoods of El Sereno, Echo Park, Lincoln Heights, Chinatown and parts of Silver Lake.

CONTACT: ​Jessica.Zaragoza@asm.ca.gov​ (916) 319-2051