144 California prisoners sterilized between 2005 and 2013
California is struggling to pay reparations to hundreds of women who were sterilized, many against their will, Fox News and The Associated Press reported.
The $4.5 million reparations program is scheduled to expire in one year, the Jan. 4 story noted.
The program provides for $15,000 payments to nearly 600 surviving women who have been forcibly sterilized. This is just a small fraction of the tens of thousands who were sterilized during America’s eugenics movement — which began in 1907 as a way to rid the country’s gene pool of poor, disabled, non-white, and “immoral” people — and was officially repealed in California in 1979. Among those due to receive reparations are 144 women who were sterilized in state prisons from 2005-2013. A 2014 law banned prison sterilizations as a form of birth control.
Only 51 of the 310 applicants have been approved over the last year because of a problem with verifying information, the stories noted. State officials have denied 103 people, closed three incomplete applications and are processing 153 others. Many records that are needed to verify applications have been lost or destroyed over the years, officials told reporters.
In 2021 California joined North Carolina and Virginia in approving reparations for forced sterilization. California was first in including recent cases from its prisons.
An incarcerated woman named Moonlight Pulido said she was told in 2005 that she had to have potentially cancerous growths removed from her body. After her surgery, she noticed that she was feeling abnormal and later was told by a nurse that she had a full hysterectomy. Pulido, who was 41 at the time of the surgery, said she was shocked.
“I’m a Native American, and we as women, we are grounded to Mother Earth. We’re the only life-givers, we’re the only ones that can give life and he stole that blessing from me,” she said. “I felt like less of a woman.”
After Pulido’s parole in 2022, she applied and received reparations of $15,000. “I sat there and looked at it and I cried. I cried because I have never had that much money in my life,” she said.