I was sterilized in 1976 when I was 23 years old. My paternalistic doctor visited me the day after la operación and assumed I would be relieved to not have the “burden” of using birth control or worrying about periods.
He was so wrong. I sued him, and the manufacturers of the Dalkon Shield
that caused my sterilization. After winning a settlement that opened
the door for thousands of women to initiate malpractice lawsuits against
this defective intrauterine device (IUD), I naively thought we had seen
the end of sterilization atrocities. After all, the first federal
guidelines prohibiting sterilization abuse were also implemented in
1976. Not only should these guidelines have ended sterilization abuses,
they should have ended the racist, sexist, and classist eugenical
thinking my doctor shared that underlay such policies.
Unfortunately, that is not so, at least in California.