California Trying to Find, Compensate Sterilization Victims

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About 600 people alive today can’t have children because California’s government sterilized them either against their will or without their knowledge, and now the state is trying to find them so it can pay them at least $15,000 each in reparations.

The state also signed a $280,000 contract in May with JP Marketing, based in Fresno, to launch a social media campaign that will run through the end of 2023. The biggest push will begin this month, when the state will pay for TV and radio ads in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento that will run through next October.

The second group eligible for reparations comprises people who were sterilized in California prisons. A state audit found 144 women were sterilized between 2005 and 2013 with little or no evidence they were counseled or offered alternative treatments. State lawmakers responded by passing a law in 2014 to ban sterilizations in prison for birth control purposes while still allowing for other medically necessary procedures.

“I'm not thrilled with the numbers that we are seeing so far, but I believe that as we exit out of COVID and we begin to fully work at our full capacity — meaning that we are able to do community meetings and in-person meetings and more direct outreach other than behind a computer and through Zoom — things will change," she said.

Pulido was shocked. She was 41 years old at the time, already had children and was serving a life sentence. But she said the doctor took away her right to start another family — something that deeply affected her. “I sat there and I looked at it and I cried. I cried because I have never had that much money ever in my life,” she said.

 

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$15k? That’s it? What a joke.

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