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California Stopped Forcibly Sterilizing People Less Than 40 Years Ago And Now They Might Not Pass A Bill Offering Reparations

California lawmakers are working to pass a bill that could potentially change the lives of the remaining survivors of state-sponsored forced sterilization. The bill, Senate Bill 1190 Eugenics Sterilization Compensation Program, would entitle victims of the former sterilization program to monetary compensation for the forced sterilizations they experienced under a California law from 1909 to 1979.

After 40 years since the practice ended, victims of California’s forced sterilization program might get monetary compensation.

CREDIT: Sugree / Flickr

Senate Bill 1190 Eugenics Sterilization Compensation Program would be “implemented by the California Victim Compensation Board for the purpose of providing victim compensation to any survivor of state-sponsored sterilization conducted pursuant to eugenics laws that existed in the State of California between 1909 and 1979,” according to the bill.

California’s eugenics law allowed for medical professionals to prevent certain people from reproducing if they were believed to be undesirable. According to The Washington Post, the practice of eugenics in the U.S. began in Indiana state prisons and spread to 32 states. The programs began by targeting people with mental illness, disabilities, or anyone showing abnormal behavior. The practice then morphed to include people of certain races and ethnicities. The practice was often referred to as ‘better breeding.’

Doctors sterilized many of the women without their consent or knowledge.

CREDIT: Film Independent / YouTube

California targeted low-income, immigrant Latinx families that couldn’t speak English in order to manipulate them into signing forms to approve sterilization procedures. When pregnant women arrived at hospitals to give birth via C-Section, the mothers would wake up and find out their tubes had been cut without their consent. The mothers were left feeling ashamed, often hiding what had happened from their family members.

A group of Mexican-American women brought a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County + University of Southern California (LAC + USC) Medical Center in 1975 because of the sterilizations.

CREDIT: Film Independent / YouTube

In 1975, Dolores Madrigal and her attorney, Antonia Hernandez, took the LAC + USC Medical Center to federal court after Madrigal found out she was forcibly sterilized by doctors. Unfortunately, Madrigal wasn’t the only person to experience forced sterilization. More than 20,000 others had similar stories. Unfortunately, the court ruled that the charges weren’t true and left the women with no justice for what they had endured.

The documentary No Más Bebés chronicles the lives of these women, the case and the women who continued to be be sterilized without consent.

The law changed four years later in 1979 under the leadership of Gov. Jerry Brown. Gov. Gray Davis formally apologized for the eugenics law that devastated thousands of Californians.

SB 1190 has been placed on a appropriations suspension. According to the California League of Cities, “suspense file is a holding placing for bills with significant fiscal impacts. Bills are generally held on the suspense file before each fiscal deadline so that each House can evaluate the total impacts to the state. Bills which are moved out of suspense then go to the floor while bills held in suspense die.”

California would join other states in rectifying previous eugenics practices if the bill is passed.

CREDIT: Allen Allen / Flickr

North Carolina and Virginia passed similar legislation in 2013, setting aside $10 million and $25,000 for sterilization victims, respectively.

On April 30, 2018 the California bill was placed on the Appropriations Suspense file, or in other words, “where bills go to die.” There may be little chance of it passing this legislative session.


READ: A New Documentary Tells the Story of Latinas Who Were Sterilized Without Knowing It

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Xavier Becerra Will Not Prosecute Women Getting Abortions If Roe V Wade Is Overturned

Fierce

Xavier Becerra Will Not Prosecute Women Getting Abortions If Roe V Wade Is Overturned

Samuel Corum / Getty Images

Americans are closely watching the confirmation hearing of Amy Coney Barrett. The judge has made it clear that she is not in favor of marriage equality, access to abortion, and the right to affordable and life-saving healthcare. California’s attorney general has pledged not to prosecute women for abortions if Roe V. Wade is overturned.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is standing with women and their right to choose.

AG Becerra was a congressman representing California wen President Donald Trump won the 2016 election. Former California Gov. Jerry Brown called on AG Becerra to leave Congress and come back to California as the attorney general. The move was a clear response to President Trump’s victory and a show that California was gearing up for years of legal battles against the administration.

Politicians and activists are sounding the alarm of Barrett’s alleged willingness to overturn Roe V. Wade.

The Supreme Court secured the future for women when they made the decision on Roe V. Wade. Suddenly, women have safe access to abortions. It closed a dark chapter in American history when women died from botched back alley abortions. Since the decision was made, the GOP has fought for years on local, state, and national levels to reverse the decision and strip women of their healthcare rights.

Concerned citizens are begging for government officials to do something to protect abortion rights.

If Roe V. Wade is overturned, the decisions to allow abortions will be left up to the states. This would negatively impact millions of women who are already struggling to access necessary healthcare in GOP-led states. States like Louisiana and Texas have made it increasingly difficult for women to access abortions in the state.

Americans do support Roe V. Wade.

Sixty-six percent of American adults do not support overturning Roe V. Wade. The decision has had a very real and important impact on the lives of women in the U.S. After decades of dangerous and fatal botched abortions in the U.S., the Supreme Court decision gave women a chance to get safe abortions. The decision afforded women a chance to have control of their futures.

People are grateful to see AG Becerra’s statement on Roe V. Wade.

Abortion is something more and more Latinos have come around too, according to some studies. According to the Latina Institute, a majority of Latinos are in favor of women having the right to choose what is best for them.

What are your thoughts about Roe V. Wade? Let us know.

READ: Latinas Raged Outside Of The Supreme Court To Fight Back At Recent Abortion Bans That Are Unconstitutional

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The Little-Known Underground Railroad That Ran South to Mexico

Culture

The Little-Known Underground Railroad That Ran South to Mexico

Tyrone Turner / Getty Images

Latinos make up the largest minority group in the country, yet our history is so frequently left out of classrooms. From Chicano communities in Texas and California to Latinos in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and the Underground Railroad – which also had a route into Mexico – Latinos have helped shape and advance this country.

And as the U.S. is undergoing a racial reckoning around policing and systemic racism, Mexico’s route of the Underground Railroad is getting renewed attention – particularly because Mexico (for the very first time in history) has counted its Afro-Mexican population as its own category in this year’s census.

The Underground Railroad also ran south into Mexico and it’s getting renewed attention.

Most of us are familiar with stories of the Underground Railroad. It was a network of clandestine routes and safe houses established in the U.S. during the early to mid-19th century. It was used by enslaved African Americans to escape into free states and Canada. It grew steadily until the Civil War began, and by one estimate it was used by more than 100,000 enslaved people to escape bondage.

In a story reported on by the Associated Press, there is renewed interest in another route on the Underground Railroad, one that went south into Mexico. Bacha-Garza, a historian, dug into oral family histories and heard an unexpected story: ranches served as a stop on the Underground Railroad to Mexico. Across Texas and parts of Louisiana, Alabama, and Arkansas, scholars and preservation advocates are working to piece together the story of a largely forgotten part of American history: a network that helped thousands of Black slaves escape to Mexico.

According to Maria Hammack, a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas at Austin studying the passage of escapees who crossed the borderlands for sanctuary in Mexico, about 5,000 to 10,000 people broke free from bondage into the southern country. Currently, no reliable figures currently exist detailing how many left to Mexico, unlike the more prominent transit into Canada’s safe haven.

Mexico abolished slavery a generation before Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

Thirty-four years before Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, in 1829, Mexican President Vicente Guerrero, who was of mixed background, including African heritage, abolished slavery in the country. The measure freed an estimated 200,000 enslaved Africans Spain forcefully brought over into what was then called New Spain and would later open a pathway for Blacks seeking freedom in the Southern U.S.

And he did so while Texas was still part of the country, in part prompting white, slave-holding immigrants to fight for independence in the Texas Revolution. Once they formed the Republic of Texas in 1836, they made slavery legal again, and it continued to be legal when Texas joined the U.S. as a state in 1845.

With the north’s popular underground railroad out of reach for many on the southern margins, Mexico was a more plausible route to freedom for these men and women.

Just like with the northern route, helping people along the route was dangerous and could land you in serious trouble.

Credit: Library of Congress / Public Domain

Much like on the railway’s northern route into Canada, anyone caught helping African-Americans fleeing slavery faced serious and severe consequences.

Slaveholders were aware that people were escaping south, and attempted to get Mexico to sign a fugitive slave treaty that would, like the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 that demanded free states to return escapees, require Mexico to deliver those who had left. Mexico, however, refused to sign, contending that all enslaved people were free once they reached Mexican soil. Despite this, Hammock said that some Texans hired what was called “slave catchers” or “slave hunters” to illegally cross into the country, where they had no jurisdiction, to kidnap escapees.

“The organization that we know today as the Texas Rangers was born out of an organization of men that were slave hunters,” Hammack, who is currently researching how often these actions took place, told the AP. “They were bounty hunters trying to retrieve enslaved property that crossed the Rio Grande for slave owners and would get paid according to how far into Mexico the slaves were found.”

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