When America Sterilized Women of Color


Fannie Lou Hamer Courtesy Library of Congress

Forcible sterilizations of black women in the South were so frequent in the 1960s, civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer nicknamed them Mississippi appendectomies. Cristen and Caroline chart the disturbing American practice of nonconsensually sterilizing women of color and the eugenics movement that started it.

Episode Sources:

"History of forced sterilization and current U.S. abuses" http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org/health-info/forced-sterilization/

"People and events: Black genocide" http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/pill/peopleevents/e_genocide.html

"Female inmates sterilized in California prisons without approval" http://cironline.org/reports/female-inmates-sterilized-california-prisons-without-approval-4917

"Forced sterilizations and the future of the women's movement" http://www.thenation.com/article/forced-sterilizations-and-future-womens-movement/

"America's secret history of forced sterilization: Remembering a disturbing and not-so-distant past" http://www.salon.com/2016/01/29/americas_secret_history_of_forced_sterilization_remembering_a_disturbing_and_not_so_distant_past/

"For the public good: The shameful history of forced sterilization in the U.S." https://blog.longreads.com/2014/11/19/for-the-public-good/

"No Mas Bebes" http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/films/no-mas-bebes/

"5o years ago today, Fannie Lou Hamer spoke out for freedom" http://msmagazine.com/blog/2014/08/22/50-years-ago-today-fannie-lou-hamer-spoke-out-for-freedom/

"35% of Puerto Rican women sterilized" https://www.uic.edu/orgs/cwluherstory/CWLUArchive/puertorico.html

Academic Insights:

"Sterilized in the name of public health: Race, immigration and reproductive control in modern California." Alexandra Minna Stern. American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 95, No. 7. Pages 1128-1138. July 2005. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1449330/

"The face of women's health: Helen Rodriguez-Trias." Joyce Wilcox. American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 92, No. 4. Pages 566-569. April 2002. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447119/

Topics in this Podcast: pregnancy, health, history, fertility, racism, reproduction