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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

As Christina Cordero remembers it, the doctor would not take no for an answer.

“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.”

The “it” is tubal ligation. He wanted to sterilize her.

Cordero, who is now 34, was serving time for auto theft at a California prison. She finally said yes, a decision she regrets seven years later. “I wish I would have never had it done.”

We are indebted to the Center for Investigative Reporting, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated content provider, for the preceding account. It is contained in a troubling report, released last week, documenting that the California prison system sterilized as many as 250 women from 1997 to 2010, in violation of state rules. Women who had the procedure say they were pressured to do so.

The state reportedly paid doctors $147,460 for this service. Dr. James Heinrich, who operated on Cordero, says it’s a bargain. “Over a 10-year period,” he told CIR, “that isn’t a huge amount of money compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children — as they procreated more.”

Maybe you think that makes perfect sense. Indeed, it’s not hard to imagine someone saying the same thing on Fox “News” next week. After all, character assassination of the less fortunate has become commonplace. A certain wealthy presidential candidate famously described them as the 47 percent of us who are irredeemable.

But maybe you know enough of history to hear the awful parallel embedded in Heinrich’s calculation. You see, this is not the first time Americans have had the bright idea of breeding out undesirables. Indeed, laws mandating forced sterilization were all the rage in America in the early 20th century. Even the Nazis were impressed. They modeled their statutes on ours.

The idea was to keep the nation’s gene pool from being polluted — and its economy burdened — by the “feeble-minded,” the habitually criminal and by families that produced generations of prostitution, promiscuity, alcoholism, poverty or disability. Some sought to do this through immigration restrictions designed to bar the racially inferior, others argued for killing mentally and physically defective children and still others favored forced sterilization.

  • sigrid28

    “It is not happening again. It is happening still.”–the truth about illegal sterilizations, the truth about a jury of six white women, two of them gun owners, who acquitted George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin. The party of xenophobia, misogyny, and racial animus continues to pull our country back to the sixties and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. While attending to these outrages liberals look the other way, giving the party’s leadership ample time to complete the goal of plundering the wealth of the country, decimating the middle class, and poisoning the air we breath and our drinking water. The failure of the justice system of Florida to adequately defend an innocent teenager and his family is just an extension of the status quo: Floridians get the government they want. When you look at the big picture, George Zimmerman is on the same path to ruination as the rest of us, only he’s so misguided he thinks his concealed weapon will protect him, as he walks free with it tucked into his waist-band. Until the general public in the United States grasps the gaping deficiencies of our criminal justice system and the institutional insanity that is our privatized prison system, we will all be living in conditions that are out of control, a horror to most of us, and totally beyond our ability to prevent or improve.

    • RobertCHastings

      Back to the sixties? I assume you mean the 1860’s, before blacks OR women were people, when children were viewed as property. Privatization of the prisons is simply mind-boggling. Running a prison for profit. That CANNOT be saving the government money.

  • charleo1

    It is not the advocation of the abortion that the Supreme Court, with it’s reasonable
    restrictions, found belonged outside the purview, and authority of the State. But, the
    guarding aganist all that comes with placing the decision any other place, than with
    the woman. Because, is it not the case, once a woman’s Rights to control elements effecting her health, body, and future, can be taken away for any reason, don’t we open the door to this these kinds of atrocities as well? Let’s not kid ourselves. We’ve
    all read the unforgettable warnings aganist remaining silent, as, “they,” “Came for the Jews, but I was a not a Jew.” Who was the, “they,” do we suppose the writer was talking about? Have we lost our minds? Or have we just forgotten, or never learned, these freedom stealing crusades, always buttress their reasons for doing such things, or excusing such intrusions, as preventing one event or circumstance, that is always, averse to morality, to God. They will claim, it threatens the core of society, that will surely rot, if the State doesn’t step in! Let’s outlaw, or take control. And remove these types of decisions out of the hands of those that cannot be trusted to have the moral, or mental capacity, to be entrusted with them. Surely we know who these people are. Not seeing the dangers, and so blinded by what they see as a clearly righteous cause. If allowed will drag us all in the ditch. As Americans, we were reminded, on 9/11/2001, freedom cannot be totally protected simply by having the most powerful military. Freedom has it’s enemies that come from within. And they certainly need not be Nazis, or Hitlerites. Even well meaning, but ultimately wrong, and misguided ideologue, can threaten, and deny liberty.
    But they must be met by a calm, and steely resolve.

    • RobertCHastings

      Nicely done, although your irony may have been a little too subtle.

      • charleo1

        Thanks. I know. My problem is getting worse! It’s the voices.
        They used to give me such clear orders. Now, they’ve started
        to mumble, and curse again!

        • RobertCHastings

          Just take nice, long, deep breaths, then hooooold, blow it slowly out your mouth, and repeat as needed. Focus (not on the voices!)and repeat deep breathing. It works to at least slow your pulse and to calm. Now, just let it all out. There you go,feel better, don’t ya.

          • charleo1

            Thanks! They charge $200.00 dollars an hour for advise
            like that! And, here I’m getting it for free!

  • Allan Richardson

    How many MALE inmates who admitted having a number of children, especially by different women, were sterilized in the prison? What, not even one rapist?

    • AttilatheBlond

      EXACTLY! Women can only have 1 baby every 9 months at best (multiples not being the norm) But one man can sure rack up a number with no time off to gestate.

      If there is any real justification for forced sterilization, there would be a lot more men than women getting cut by the state. Cheaper procedure too.

      Establishment America hates women, people of color, poor.

  • Lovefacts

    I’ve always wondered why it’s the woman who is sterilized and not the men.. Even in China, it’s always the woman. Somehow it gets lost that if a man is sterilized, it doesn’t matter how many women he sleeps with, they won’t get pregnant. Oh, yeah, that’s right. Men make the laws concerning women’s bodies, especially reproductive rights.

    • AttilatheBlond

      Have wondered about that too. We women are just another type of breeding chattel animal to male dominated society. Men have sacred junk cuz men say so. Time to kick the patriarchy soundly to the curb.

      • That’s right! Now do my dishes!

        • charleo1

          Now see. I get that joke, because I’m a man.
          It’s male humor. It’s really ridiculous, and that’s
          why it’s funny! Or, small chuckle humorous.
          If you’re a man. Women however, do not get it.
          Oh, they understand what you said. And that you
          were, in their opinion, trying to be funny. In that
          Andrew Dice Clay style, that men sometimes
          think women love to hate. Trust me, they just
          hate it. I’ve thought about this nearly universal
          consistency in women a lot. That’s what men do
          when they have a lot of time on their hands. Like
          after a divorce. The second one especially.
          Because I had convinced myself the first one was
          a fluke. So, I still thought women appreciated a good
          male joke. In kinda the same way they appreciated
          toned, rippling biceps on a nicely tanned man, with
          super perfect white teeth. Or a husband that does
          the dishes. No, no they do not.

      • RobertCHastings

        Now is the time to kick their damn nuts up into their throats and call them “squeaky”.