Illegal Sterilization of Female Inmates Raises Rights Questions

Illegal Sterilization of Female Inmates Raises Rights Questions

144 sterilizations performed on female California inmates from 2005 to 2013 have been under review by the State Auditor, and many have been found suspect due to lack of consent or possible coercion in a resulting audit report. Documentation reviewed by California’s State Auditor determined that at least a quarter of the 144 procedures from 2005 to 2013 were performed without lawful consent.

Consent forms were not signed in at least 27 cases of female inmate sterilization. Potential waiting period violations, the 30-day period between when consent is given and the procedure is performed, exist in at least 18 cases. A total 39 violations involving “illegal operations” were discovered through the audit, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

A bill reportedly drafted in response to a report, SB1135, passed the Senate on May 27 of this year before being sent on for consideration in the State Assembly. Thus far the bill has received full bipartisan support and has not seen one no vote in committee or floor vote, according to the legislative record. 

Four Senators were noted as not voting; however, three of these were reported as suspended March 28 due to criminal charges.


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