They came to the hospital to safely deliver their babies. They went home sterilized by the doctors who delivered their children. The documentary film No Más Bebés, chronicles the story of Mexican American women sterilized under duress, stress and coercion, even in the early moments of giving birth, at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical center in the 1960s and 1970s.
There will be a special screening of the film followed by a talk-back on Thursday, October 27 at the Domenici Center for Health Sciences Education, 1001 Stanford NE, Albuquerque, 5pm. Immediately following the film, Young Women United, the presenter of the event will host a dialogue with one of the film’s producers, Virginia Espino.
If coerced or forced sterilization by American doctors in California sounds like some future dystopia, know that the horrific “science” of eugenics has been practiced in the United States since the early 20th Century with the first bill proposed to sterilize “undesirables” in 1849. The bill was never brought to vote, but it emboldened those eager to outnumber the “other” to continue the development of their weird science in the decades to come.
As empowering as the film No Más Bebés is, it doesn’t mark the end of forced sterilization in the United States. This practice continues in our prison systems where between 2006-2010 148 women were sterilized illegally in California prisons.
Thursday evening will include the rarely discussed forced sterilization of Native women. Here in the Southwest region, Indian Health Services, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, sterilized as many as 25%-50% of Native women between 1970 and 1976 without their consent. Part of the discussion after the film will include the and the intersectionality of race, culture, teen pregnancy, long-term birth control, and the power of choice.
What: Screening of the documentary, No Más Bebés plus a talk-back with one of the film’s creators, Virginia Espino
When: Thursday, October 27, 5pm.
Where: The Domenici Center for Health Sciences Education, 1001 Stanford Dr. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
How much: FREE.
Young Women United moves its work through: policy initiatives, communications and culture shift strategies, community based organizing, and leadership development. YWU works with young women of color to advance an intersectional vision of reproductive justice around five campaign issue areas: de-stigmatizing mental health alongside LGBTQ youth of color, leading criminal justice reform with a gender lens perspective while de-criminalizing substance use and pregnancy, maintaining and growing access to reproductive health care, increasing access women of color have to a full range of birthing options centering midwifery models of care, building educational equity and support for expectant and parenting young people. YWU also runs Circle of Strength, a leadership development program for self-identified young women of color ages 13-19.