Target: California Governor Jerry Brown
Goal: Praise new law criminalizing the forced sterilization of prison inmates
It is now illegal in the state of California for correctional facilities to use sterilization as a birth control method, thanks to a bill just signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. Just last year, a ForceChange petition urged state legislators to take action against California’s rampant forced sterilization problem. The law contains two important caveats: sterilization is permissible only if the person’s life is in danger or if the procedure is medically necessary and all other options have been exhausted. The fact that it passed both chambers of California’s legislature by unanimous vote indicates that California’s state representatives and senators understand the important of acting quickly on this issue.
A June 2014 report described a series of sterilizations performed on female inmates who had not properly consented to the procedure. The report showed that failure to obtain proper consent occurred in 39 out of 144 cases of female inmate sterilization in the California correctional system between 2005 and 2011. As the new law’s author, state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, said in a statement, “Pressuring a vulnerable population into making permanent reproductive choices without informed consent is unacceptable, and violates our most basic human rights.” This defense of inmates’ reproductive rights is an important step in reforming California’s correctional system.
By signing this petition, you are thanking Governor Brown for signing this bill into law and calling on him to ensure that it is enforced.
Dear Governor Brown,
I am incredibly heartened by the bill you recently signed into law, which protects California inmates from forced sterilization. The trend over the past few decades has been to limit inmates and ex-convicts rights and capabilities, both inside and outside prisons, to lead normal lives. Prison systems are growing to monstrous sizes, eating up taxpayer dollars that could be put to good use, and trampling on the rights of humans who need opportunities, not further oppression. Protecting inmates’ reproductive rights is an important step in reforming California’s correctional system and changing the way society relates to inmates.
Thank you for signing this bill into law, bringing to fruition all the vital work that California state representatives and senators have undertaken over the last few months to end forced sterilization. I urge you to ensure that this law is enforced to the fullest extent, in order to ensure that inmates are never forced or intimidated into undergoing sterilization procedures.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: California Department of Corrections via Wikimedia Commons