An alarming report came to my attention a few weeks ago: women prisoners in California are being sterilized without their consent. Hearing this immediately took me back to a history lesson on eugenics. This was only uncovered through audits performed at the prisons. Which begs the question: how many have not been revealed?
The control of women’s bodies has been an ongoing battle. It seems simple enough; one’s body belongs to oneself. But history has taught us through slavery, labor camps, rape, mail-order brides and the sex trade that no matter what race or gender one might claim, others hold the power of bodies in their hands. Society labels bodies in order to make actions against bodies “acceptable.” Society teaches women to believe that their bodies do not belong to them or that they deserve abuse.
Women’s bodies are powerful: they bring life. To allow someone else to take or control that power is abominable. Why does someone else need to be consulted for women to make decisions about their own bodies? How can people justify the right to sterilize a woman without her consent? More women than men have been sterilized without consent – why is that? Is there more to sterilization than simply stopping someone from procreating?
These actions continue to remind women that they are not in control of their bodies. Someone else out there, probably whom we have never met, is making decisions about the care or abuse of our bodies. How can we take back the control? When will the body only belong to its owner?
To read the story click here: Sterilization in CA prisons.