To: Governor Gavin Newsom

Governor Brown: Support the end of forced sterilization of California prisoners.

Ask the California legislature to immediately pass SB 1135, a proposed law that would prohibit sterilization of prisoners for birth control or without their consent.

Why is this important?

The State of California cares for its prisoners so badly that in 2005, a judge mandated federal oversight of their prison healthcare system after it was documented that one person dies in California prisons every day from extreme medical malpractice or neglect. But as horrific as these crimes of neglect are, it shocks the conscience anew to hear that the medical care that was provided to prisoners included forced sterilization as recently as 2010. [1]

Eugenics is a word that sounds to too many of us like it belongs only in the history books, but the eugenics programs started in California in the 1920s were found still alive and kicking in its prisons until very recently. While mainstream, and mostly white, women's rights advocates celebrated and defended legal abortion, too little attention has been paid to genocidal medical violence practiced against members of society deemed 'unfit' parents due to poverty, mental health, or non-white ethnicity.

As Loretta Ross, an African American victim of forced sterilization at the age of 23, wrote recently, "After my sterilization, I felt empty, lost, and butchered. I was in shock and felt powerless." [1] There is no justification for an atrocity like this and the State of California must immediately act to ensure that state power is never again abused to deprive people of their right to parent and make their own decisions about their family size.

Tell Governor Brown to ask the California legislature to act immediately to pass SB 1135 and safeguard against forced sterilization of vulnerable populations.

[1] - "Eugenicists Never Retreat, They Just Regroup: Sterilization and Reproductive Oppression in Prisons," Loretta Ross, RH Reality Check, June 12, 2014.


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