At this transformative moment, when we can no longer tolerate Black lives being taken by the state or the eugenic sacrifice of vulnerable people to a pandemic, we demand California work to end state violence against women of color and disabled communities. We demand California grant a budget request for reparations for historic and contemporary survivors of sterilization abuse.
Between 1909 and 1979, California forcibly sterilized at least 20,000 people of color, people with disabilities, and imprisoned people under its eugenics laws. Based on white supremacist, ableist, and classist notions of who was “unfit to reproduce,” California lawmakers sought to create a more “perfect” human race. Disabled people and women of color were primarily targeted for forced sterilization. While the State’s eugenics laws were formally repealed in 1979, California continued its sterilization abuses against communities of color. Government documents indicate that at least 250 people – disproportionately women of color and non-native English speakers – were forcibly sterilized in California women’s prisons between 2006 to 2010. Sterilizations were performed without consent and often without knowledge during labor and delivery or other abdominal surgeries. Independent journalistic investigations indicate this number is dramatically underestimated.
Justice requires accountability and atonement. The State must address its shameful past and commit to ending destruction of the right to family for communities of color and disabled people. We demand California notify all survivors that they were sterilized and immediately budget to provide reparations. If we do not act NOW, if we do not demand reparation and accountability, we know from repeated instances of police violence that state violence will not stop.
This petition is a cross-movement push for justice created by Back to the Basics, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, and Cynthia Chandler, Attorney-at-Law. Learn more about the struggle to end eugenics and state violence at bellyofthebeastfilm.com.
And stay tune for ways to plug into supporting AB 1007, Compensation for Forced Sterilization