How Two Black Female Prisoners Out Of 148 Were Sterilized Without Approval In California

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It was reported in 2013, that Doctors contracted by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, sterilized almost 150 female inmates without the required state approvals, from 2006 to 2010. The findings were made by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

The process which is called ‘tubal ligations’ was carried out on at least 148 women, and it violated the prison’s rules. The report also suggested that perhaps 100 more such unapproved sterilizations were carried out dating back to the late 1990s, according to documents from the state office and interviews of former inmates and officials.

The report stated that the state paid doctors $147,460, from 1997 to 2010, o carry out the medical procedure. The figures were gotten from a database that held the various contracted medical services for state prisoners.

The women, when pregnant, were signed up for surgery and kept in the California Institution for Women in Corona or Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, which has now been converted into a men’s prison.

According to ABC News, the investigation showed that two African American women were involved in the sterilization. Their names were Michelle Anderson and Kimberly Jeffrey.

The testimonies of former inmates and prisoner advocates strongly suggest that the prison medical staff coerced the women, with more emphasis on those who were likely to return to the prison in the future.

According to NBC-Bay Area, a former Valley State Prison inmate, Crystal Nguyen, said that she often overheard the medical staff of the prison asking inmates who returned to the prison for more prison terms to agree to sterilization.

In a statement, Crystal Nguyen, said: “I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s not right… Do they think they’re animals, and they don’t want them to breed anymore?”

Also, another former inmate of the Valley State prison, Christina Cordero, who gave birth to her son in October 2006 confessed that the prison’s OB-GYN, Dr. James Heinrich, continuously pressured her to accept a tubal ligation.

In her statement, she said: “As soon as he found out that I had five kids, he suggested that I look into getting it done. The closer I got to my due date, the more he talked about it… “He made me feel like a bad mother if I didn’t do it.”

Christina Cordero finally agreed to the doctor’s pressure and had the tubal ligation done. Although, she regrets it today, as she told the reporters.

When Heinrich, one of the physicians involved were interviewed, he denied ever forcing any of the women and stated that he was only providing an important service to poor women who were likely to face health challenges in their future pregnancies because of past cesarean sections.

Heinrich described the $147,460 paid to doctors as minimal. He said that Over a 10-year period, that isn’t a huge amount of money,… compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children – as they procreated more.”

Daun Martin, a licensed psychologist, who was a top medical manager at Valley State Prison from 2005 to 2008 denied approving the surgeries, even though 60 tubal ligations were carried out at Vallet State during his stay, according to the state’s contract database.

Although the sterilization of inmates has long been outlawed in America, there have been some instances where inmates have been coerced. One such instances were when a Tennessee judge gave dozens of inmates an option of removing a month off their sentence if they underwent surgical sterilization, in a story that was published by Vice.com in May 2019.

In 2014, NBC News reported that California had banned the sterilization of female inmates without consent. This was done after reports showed that medical officials did not get consent from dozens of imprisoned women before the procedure was carried out.

The bill which was signed prohibits the sterilization of inmates as a means of birth control in prisons and correctional facilities in California. The only time this procedure can be carried out without consent is when the patient’s life is in danger and when there is an emergency and no other options are left to save the patient’s life.


This article initially reported that sterilization was done was to cut the cost of welfare in California by the California government. We agree that the report was made in error, and have made the necessary corrections. We thank Lead Stories for pointing out this error to our team.


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46 COMMENTS

  1. Probably not. This is wrong on so many levels!! This in my own opinion is just another form of genocide!

  2. I agree with the sterilization. I dont agree with the focus being on one particular race. The focus should be on all the races for all the right humane reasons. Society really shouldnt be burdened generation after generation of welfare over populated, jails and all around social programs collapsing accommodating year after year uinlimited births. We cant sustain. Look at us.

  3. I don’t think God is happy about it when he said to multiply, m and to blame it one one race is the most racist thing I ever heard of.

  4. “In California prisons, the jailed women are not necessarily being forced to undergo sterilization. But the women say they get coerced and pressured by the doctors to make the decision.”

    So no harm done, they consented, then the writer probably threw the coercion parts to sensationalize the article.

    This was the part they forgot to put “black” in front of women to keep with their insistence that there’s some sort of systematic racist attempt to sterilize black women, when in fact nothing of the sort is going on. They are offering it to all women to save costs, and they give probably give them money or commissary for it.

    What a terrible attempt to stir up claims of racism where it doesn’t exist…

  5. Where are the sick SOB, that scream about Abortions, and even masturbation, what happen to their insane voices, and how may a sane person ask < are those women going to get pregnant inside one of those Godforsaken places this had damn well better stop now.

  6. did any of yall read the article? it’s an option presented to all prisoners, regardless of race – they are not forced to do it by the state

  7. That’s one of the mist f’ed up thing I’ve heard yet. I know they recently put a sterilization agent in a vaccine that was discovered in Africa. Again targeting black people. Yeah, you know what God made black people by the way…

  8. This does not surprise me. When I was growing up, people were sterilized if they had Down’s syndrome or other mental impairments. There were times when their children were taken away too. The powers that be thought it was best because of the ability of “those people” to take care of or provide for their children.

  9. The racism you represent only fuels the fire and provokes the white power of which is infringing on women rights your wicked comment is part of the problem 2 wrongs dont make a right your comment is a ignorance & disgraceful

  10. Best believe this is happening in men’s prisons too. But always remember the credibility of the writer and persuasive writing. Although I believe this is going on, I believe these types of articles brings out the racial issues this country is facing to create more hate. Don’t buy in.

  11. Did you read:
    In California prisons, the jailed women are not necessarily being forced to undergo sterilization. But the women say they get coerced and pressured by the doctors to make the decision. One of the inmates said, “I figured that’s just what happens in prison – that that’s the best kind of doctor you’re going get.”

    Strongly coerced, pressured! Sounds forced to me.

  12. Absolutely. That was just a flat out hateful, racist comment. I am dark skinned and mixed with white my kids are mixed and one is frequently mistaken as white when her hair is straight. That comment didn’t feel very good to read. NO race should be forced into mandatory sterilization. That’s evil

  13. I didn’t see when it mentioned regardless of race and if you have someone breathing down your back saying the negativity on a situation your typically going to run with it. A professional said I’m incompetent and I shouldn’t be able to raise a child I’m poor so I must be. When your incarcerated your already at your lowest and that’s when people begin to rip you apart and the reason most women are even in prison are petty crimes you stole, sold drugs, sold your body to feed your family not to mention the ones that are just protecting themselves.

  14. This is evil. God gave every human being permission to procreate within a matrimonial context even after Adam and Eve disobeyed HIM, God did not sterilise them. No medical should give *sterilisation advise or coercion* to any person whether a prison inmate or not. God is the only being who has the place of reproduction for He alone created and still creates *human life and can terminate it’s at his own time/convenience*.

  15. If it’s not done to all women than it shouldn’t just be done to black women. Period. White women have also relied on welfare and produced children they didn’t want. White children are also in the system not just African American children. Taking away choice is the problem. I understand that no one wants to pay for unwanted children, but to sterilize them is bullshit. How about making sure they are safe and not subject to being victims. The laws in place fit and work for those they want it to work for. Apply the law to all or none at all.

  16. God also said a father and a mother should raise children. God also forbids fornication and adult. If theeae were practiced and the family unit remained intact we wouldn’t have unwanted children on welfare. The family unit is broken and this is not God’s design but people do what they want, in fact most of society is alienated from divine principles. Principles that make for a happy life cannot be realized apart from our creator. Welfare, taxes, SSI, SS, law, jails, police, homeless shelters, politicians, government, are only band aids that are allowed to remain in existence so that we will have some relative order in society. A government far better will be here very soon.

  17. It went on to say In California prisons, the jailed women are not necessarily being forced to undergo sterilization. But the women say they get coerced and pressured by the doctors to make the decision. One of the inmates said, “I figured that’s just what happens in prison – that that’s the best kind of doctor you’re going get.”

    There is a regulation in California that requires the state to approve each sterilization procedure. Doctors at the prison were able to cut corners and get around that, however. The prison medical manager said she signed off on the sterilization procedures since Heinrich listed them as a “medical emergency.” No where does it indicate that it has been done to white prisoners, . Then there is the fact as stated above that that they are coerced and pressured. They should be seen by a psychologist to see if they really understand that they have a choice. I would have thought if this happened anywhere it would happen in an overpopulated 3rd World country. Not supposedly to the supposedly great democratic countries in the world. Oh I forgot they want to ban abortions in several states for rape or incest victims too

  18. I have relates with the government and at times their forceful by all means. Their very disrespectful most being white. I’m a open minded woman. However wrong is wrong regardless of who they are.Things have change but there is a lot more necessary. I was force with words follow with physical movement. Nothing like that would happen. It’s always the ones that came through by slavery. It’s sad when someone sells out someone a like bit more in common. Not of that behavior should happen. How can anyone help themselves when another abuses the one struggling to be self sufficient. Not of it is right regardless of whom

  19. Earl, the article doesn’t say How female prisoners are sterilized. But it does say “How Black female prisoners are sterilized”. Trust me It has nothing to do with cutting the welfare cost in California. It has more to do with slowing down the reproduction of Black people.

  20. Are you sure? Just like you write what you want so can authors of articles doesn’t mean it the truth, and also I bet those women are not educated enough to understand what is really being presented to them because the devil works in mysterious ways. This so disgusting that our society is still stooping so low. This is most developed country in the world and we are worst when it comes to our people no matter what race, ethnic origin except when it come white people.

  21. Maybe it’s me but I don’t understand why a woman who has committed a crime and is legitimately in prison should be allowed to have children in prison, I won’t go as far as sterilising anyone but I certainly do not support them having kids in jail, that right needs to be taken from them full stop, if you wanna have kids stay out of jail

  22. “…not necessarily forced…”? In other words, Not Forced. They are no doubt “encouraged” which when coupled with a sense of urgency by their doctors, is received as coercion. The best cure is to question the suggestion and then say No. Don’t be ignorant or compliant. Stand up for yourself and say No.

  23. I believe in the choice but why have all black women on there they should’ve threw some white and Mexicans in there too

  24. I think it’s really simple…either contribute to society or don’t expect the same rights and considerations as productive members of society. I don’t give a flying F if you’re white, black, blue or green. PERIOD.

    It should not be a God-given right to procreate and have the welfare system support both the parent and child (plural most of the time). One needs to prove they can be of value to society, get a job, support yourself and THEN start considering whether you can raise a child. WITHOUT ASSISTANCE.

    THIS IS NOT A RACE ISSUE, FOLKS. SORRY.

  25. This is just what the Scriptures speaks about in Deuteronomy 28 black people are under the curse. The only way we can come out is by returning to God of the Bible not religion nor Christianity. There will never be equal rights for blacks in the Americas. The Reveloution is here and it’s real.

  26. I would like the author to report how many white women were smart enough to do the same thing. It amazes me how many people are screaming that this is so awful but they are not standing in line to adopt these addicted babies. I want to know what profession people are they scream no stop this is awful. I say it should be offered to all human beings in and out of jail. Stand on street corners and in drug areas and pay them to get it done. Adopt these kids out and people have all kinds of problems with them. Think people!

  27. Your not wrong in ya opinion this is wrong on all levels Ppl get wrongfully accused all da time so what happen To the women that was Convicted as guilty and later on in her sentence get release Cuz she wasn’t wrongfully convicted do she get her life back and not to have kids if she wanted

  28. What a statement! And we are the ones called racist!! This whole article makes sense. Should be done in all States! Cut down on all the welfare BS!

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