The Women Who Fought For The Right To Bear Children


The 1970s are considered a decade of great advances for mainstream feminism with regards to reproductive rights in the USA. The Family Planning and Population Research Act was enacted in 1970 to provide family planning and preventive health services to low-income women. In 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court established the right of unmarried people to possess contraception which was, until then, only allowed to married couples. And the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case legalised abortions nationwide in 1973.

But while the dominant narrative of reproductive choice was being constructed around preventing and terminating a pregnancy, a group of women was fighting for the right to bear children.

In 1975, Dolores Madrigal and nine other women filed a civil lawsuit against Los Angeles County – USC Medical, the state of California and the federal government, for unauthorised or coerced sterilisation surgery. They accused the medical professionals of systematically…

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