Last Monday, the Center for Investigative Reporting issued a report on how women in California prisoners have been coerced into being sterilized so they can no longer have children. The report was based on the work of San Leandro’s own Cynthia Chandler and her organization Justice Now.
It seems like something out of a movie about a dystopic future or from Nuremberg Trial transcripts, but it’s not. It’s California in the 21st century.
Coerced sterilizations violate some of the most fundamental rights of women: those to physical integrity and to have children and form a family and to . It is unconscionable to know that this has been done until recently – and may be done again – without anyone lifting a finger to stop it.
Now, some lawmakers in California are calling for an investigation of the physicians involved. That’s an important first step, and one that other legislators should join. But we need more, the doctors and prisons officials who let this happen need to be held legally accountable and the politicians that supported these measures need to face political accountability.
I hope that now that this has come to light, Attorney General Kamala Harris will start her own investigation and that our local lawmakers will join the call for her to do so.