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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Thoughts on No Más Bebés

I highly recommend the documentary No Más Bebés, directed by Renee Tajima-Peña. It is streaming on PBS' website, and is about Mexican immigrant mothers in L.A. who were sterilized without their consent or knowledge after their childbirths in the 1960s and 1970s (due to eugenics about controlling the population of poor people) and a young Chicana feminist lawyer in the 1970s, who empowered the women to sue the hospitals & government and gain reproductive rights for all women.

The women, many of whom were Mexican immigrants who understood little English, were manipulated and coerced into signing documents in English (which they couldn't read or write), often times being told they were signing for a C-section or that it was for a critical surgical procedure post-birth that they would die from if they didn't sign the release. The women didn't know about the sterilizations until years later, and it had devastating effects on them and their marriages and families. The feminists who fought for their rights, as well as the women who made their stories public, were really brave and courageous to do this.

It is a really fascinating documentary, and I learned more about Chicana life, reproductive rights, feminism, and human rights.

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