After the inhuman murder of George Floyd in the USA on May 25, 2020. The entire world appears to be united in the ‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM) movement. A number of stories were recently unearthed, sadly Erika Cohen’s documentary ‘BELLY OF THE BEAST’ & about the eugenics movement. That uncovers the truth behind tubal ligation procedures that took place in the Central California Women’s (CCW) facility. CCW is the world’s biggest female prison, but the brutal act did not receive the limelight it deserves.
Even though these stories of coerced sterilizations in California made rounds sporadically over the years. We owe a lot to the Black Lives Movement campaign for highlighting the omnipresence of systemic racism that exists in the land of the free.
Forced sterilization of inmates of colour is a clear violation of human rights. And a modern-day eugenic implementation that goes against the core values of freedom and equality. In this time of global awakening, people must remain resolute to hold authorities accountable. And help lesser-known women like Kelli Dillon in their fight against involuntary sterilization in prison.
The idea behind eugenics is systematic or selective breeding similar to the kind that’s prevalent in animals to ensure desirable characteristics in the next generations. To a point that those with undesirable characteristics were forcibly sterilized. So they wouldn’t be able to reproduce as a means to uplift and unburden society. If you take a look at the following images you will be shocked by what the eugenic society in the early 20th century considered pure or undesirable.
In light of the above, it’s difficult to explain the coerced sterilisation of 150 disproportionate women of colour, disability. Or linguistic non-English-speakers in absence of systemic racism when such procedure can only take place with prior sanction from the State. During 2004 – 2013 the state of California funded these sterilisations for approximately 1.1 crores to prevent social evils by ensuring those who could cause it are never born.
In 2017, a bill was passed in Tennessee to negate the order of a white county judge that upheld undergoing sterilisations to cut prison time by 30 days.
The Eugenics’ law was steadily eliminated by the 1970s, however. All the instances recorded by the Centre for Investigative Reporting mentioned. Here along with the testimonies of survivors like Kelli Dillon suggest otherwise.
It is up to the reader to decide whether the racial tone of this article. And is justified as it draws inspiration from ‘THE BELLY OF THE BEAST’. Which made efforts to trace the struggles of an African American woman. Kelli Dillon in her attempt to seek justice for being subjected to forced sterilisation while in prison. One must realise that this is beyond race and colour. And is an insight as well as an appeal against the human rights violation of prison inmates.