Governor Brown signs prison anti-sterilization bill

by Bernadette Rabuy, September 26, 2014

Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1135 (Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson), putting an end to sterilization abuse in California prisons. This is a well-earned victory for our friends at Justice Now, whose hard work allowed the bill to pass unanimously out of both the Senate and Assembly.

“This bill not only affects those still inside prisons and the thousands of women who will go through prisons and jails in the near future; but most importantly it protects generations of children to come who otherwise might not have had an opportunity to exist” says Kelli Dillon who was sterilized in her early 20’s while incarcerated at Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla. Kelli, however, goes on to say “we still need an apology and acknowledgement of what was done to us.” While this bill comes a long way in addressing the abusive and coercive conditions under which sterilizations were happening it is a reminder that work still needs to be done to properly address those who had their ability to have children so callously and egregiously taken away.

We are glad that Governor Brown has taken a step toward reversing California’s shameful legacy of eugenics, and we are hopeful that this bill will support California prisons in more effectively protecting the human rights of the incarcerated.

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