Date: July 11, 2013
For Immediate Release

Contact: Andrew DeBlock

LOS ANGELES – The California Women’s Law Center (CWLC) applauds and supports the California Legislative Women’s Caucus in their call for an investigation into the alleged sterilization of 148 women incarcerated in California correctional facilities between 2006 and 2010.

“We decry this undoubtedly unconstitutional violation of the basic rights of women,” said CWLC Interim Executive Director, Betsy Butler. “We are glad to see that the California Legislative Women’s Caucus recognizes the importance of this issue and the need to discover how these procedures were allowed to occur in order to prevent these unapproved sterilizations from happening again.”

Earlier this week, the Center for Investigate Reporting broke the news that pregnant female inmates had received tubal ligations while housed in one of two state prison facilities. The California Women’s Legislative Caucus has formally asked Clark Kelso, the Federal Receiver appointed to ensure that a lawful standard of medical care is available in California prisons, to explain how these procedures were allowed to happen under his watch.

The Women’s Legislative Caucus also calls for the Federal Receiver to answer a set of nine salient questions by July 23rd to better understand what steps are necessary to prevent this breach from happening again and calls for the State Auditor to review allegations that physicians under the Federal Receivership coerced pregnant inmates into sterilization procedures. The allegations outlined, if true, are unacceptable and represent a violation of the public trust and the deprivation of basic rights to a group of women whose circumstances limit their options.


The California Women’s Law Center (CWLC) works to ensure, through systemic change, that life opportunities for women and girls are free from unjust social, economic, and political constraints.

Founded in 1989, the CWLC focuses on the following issue areas: gender discrimination, women’s health, violence against women, reproductive justice and the unique concerns of women veterans.