LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Reparations should be paid to more than 240 survivors of forced sterilizations performed at County-USC Medical Center between 1968 and 1974, a motion approved Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors declared.
The motion urges state leaders to fund the reparations, but also explores the county’s ability to do so if the state does not expand its plans to pay reparations to victims of sterilizations that occurred outside of state facilities.READ MORE: LA County Supervisor Signs Executive Order Requiring All County Employees Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19
“While no amount of money ever fully be enough to account for the terrible experiences these women endured through the sterilization program, at the very least we can try to provide financial reparation that can help these survivors ease any financial burdens they may be experiencing,” Supervisor Hilda Solis said in a statement.
California instituted a “horrific forced” sterilization program in 1909, victimizing more than 20,000 people before the law was repealed in 1979, the motion said. It was used by proponents of the eugenics movement as a way to prevent people with mental illness, disabilities from passing on their genes, but immigrants, people of color, and the poor were also targeted. A disproportionate number of people who were sterilized were Latina women, who were 59% more likely to be sterilized than non-Latinos.
Despite the law’s repeal in 1979, sterilizations were identified in California prisons as recently as 1999, and an investigative audit found 144 women were sterilized between 2005 and 2013, according to the motion. Solis’ motion said 240 women were “coerced” into receiving postpartum tubal ligations between 1968 and 1974 at County-USC Medical Center. Gov. Brown signed into a law an official prohibition on the practice in 2014 after it was found female inmates were still being forcibly sterilized as recently as 2010.READ MORE: CBS2 Investigates: E. Coli Bacteria Levels In Echo Park Lake Higher Than State Water Quality Standards
The state has already budgeted $7.5 million to issue $25,000 in payments to the survivors of forced sterilizations, but it does not include funding for survivors from facilities operated by local governments.
“Any intentional efforts to address systemic racism and build more equitable approaches into county services moving forward must confront the most egregious sins of the past,” the motion said.
Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors issued an official apology to these women in 2018.MORE NEWS: Daily COVID Cases Top 3,700 In LA County; 12-Year-Old Child Among New Deaths
“More must be done to provide corrective responses to these women,” the motion said.