California Seeking To Pay Reparations To Nearly 600 Forced Sterilization Victims

  • Post category:News / US News


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California is searching for approximately 600 surviving people who the state sterilized without their permission in prison or during the eugenics movement, offering them reparations of at least $15,000 each by the end of the year, according to The Associated Press.

The $4.5 million state program’s application deadline is set for 2023’s end, with only 45 people approved for the reparations so far, the outlet reported. Three of the approved recipients were sterilized in the eugenics era, while the rest were sterilized in California prisons, and a state audit found 144 female inmates underwent sterilization between 2005 and 2013 with little or no evidence of counseling or alternative treatment offerings before the state prison sterilization for birth control the next year.

The eugenics movement reached its height in the 1930s, and survivors of that period are in their eighties or older, according to the AP. Sterilizing prisoners with federal funding has been prohibited under federal and California state law, Reveal reported.

“We try to find all the information we can and sometimes we just have to hope that somebody maybe can find more detailed information on their own,” California Victims’ Compensation Board Executive Office Lynda Gledhill told the outlet. “We’re just sometimes not able to verify what happened.”

Reparations program advocate Democratic California Assembly member Wendy Carrillo has pledged to pursue extending its application deadline and wants to broaden reparations to county-funded hospital sterilization victims, the AP reported. The remaining reparations funding is set to be distributed evenly to approved recipients when the program concludes.

One reparations recipient, convicted attempted murderer Moonlight Pulido, told the outlet she was sterilized through a full hysterectomy while she was imprisoned in 2005 after a doctor said she needed two potentially cancerous growths removed. She was released on parole in January 2022 and received $15,000 reparations approval after applying.

“I sat there and I looked at it and I cried,” Pulido said, according to the AP. “I cried because I have never had that much money ever in my life.”

A state-funded social media campaign to raise awareness for the program is set to continue throughout the year, and TV and radio advertisements meant for victims’ families and friends will start in February, the AP reported.

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