Information gathered from an audit of California’s department of corrections is showing a major injustice and tragedy for many. In the years, 2005-2006 and also 2012-2013 there were many illegal medical procedures done in the women’s prison. The audit shows that a total of 144 bilateral tubal ligations were performed and the purpose of these procedures is for sterilization. A huge number of 39 women did not give their full consent for the procedure and in most of those 39 cases it was not proven that they were even mentally capable of making a life altering decision. Everything that transpired in the women’s prison regarding the sterilization procedures violated prison policy and also the basic human rights that these women should have had.
There is always a waiting period between the choice to have the procedure done and actually following through with the procedure, this policy was also violated. This is a big deal as that waiting period allows time to make sure a woman can make a sound decision regarding a permanent procedure like a tubal ligation.
If it seems like this story couldn’t appear any worse, don’t be fooled because it can. The prison is also required to have a witness for the women while they make this choice and that did not happen either.
Other information from the audit shows that each woman that had the sterilization procedure done had a history of another imprisonment. This shows that these women were possibly targeted by officials because they were repeat offenders.
A woman’s right to have a child is just that, her right and when policies like these and human rights are violated the aftermath is devastating. Criminal or not, these woman have rights and in the future California needs to take precautions to avoid this situation from ever happening again.