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California Lawmakers Question Sterilizations of Inmates

Pauline Bartolone/CapRadio

Pauline Bartolone/CapRadio

California prison officials say doctors have performed permanent birth control procedures on inmates even though it was against their own regulation.

A 1999 memo directed health care managers to include a sterilization procedure in post-partum care that is specifically barred for state prisoners.

Republican State Senator Joel Anderson called for a hearing on what he called ‘outrageous practices.’

“When you’re talking about a woman’s reproductive rights, and removing them for the rest of her life, this is a serious decision and that woman should be able to make that choice [with] free will,” says Anderson 

Anderson says lawmakers are considering a bi-partisan bill to prohibit medically unnecessary birth control procedures to prisoners.

Prison officials say they halted the practice in 2010.


Pauline Bartolone


Pauline Bartolone has been a journalist for more than 15 years, during which she was Capital Public Radio’s healthcare reporter from 2011-2015. Her work has aired frequently on National Public Radio.  Read Full Bio 

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