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Prison Sterilization Report Prompts Call For Inquiry In California

California lawmakers are calling for an investigation into allegations that 148 female prisoners underwent tubal ligation surgeries without the state's required approval. Some inmates said they had been pressured into undergoing the sterilization procedure, according to a report by the Center for Investigative Reporting.

In a letter to the head of California's medical board, state Sen. Ted Lieu and two other legislators asked the board to look into "the practices and conduct of the physicians involved in tubal ligations at California state prisons."

Citing the CIR report (which The Two-Way wrote about earlier this week), Lieu and his colleagues said they were particularly bothered by a statement by one doctor, who said the state would "save in welfare paying for these unwanted children — as they procreated more."

Saying that the doctors may have violated state laws and physicians' ethical standards, the legislators asked the board to determine "whether any disciplinary actions or license revocations are warranted."

The allegations cover a period between 2006 and 2010.

In the initial CIR report by Corey G. Johnson, one inmate recalled how she had been repeatedly asked about being sterilized, including, in case, while she was sedated and strapped to an operating table to undergo a C-section.

The medical board told Johnson today that it has received the letter from the lawmakers but could not comment further, due to confidentiality rules.

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