CA lawmakers seek safeguards against sterilization of imprisoned women

This story came out last week while I was on the road, but it's worth noting so if you haven't heard or read about it already:

Top state lawmakers pledged today to pursue legislation to prevent sterilization abuses in prisons.

Sen. Loni Hancock, chairwoman of the Public Safety Committee, made the announcement during a packed hearing at the State Capitol. It was called in response to an investigation by The Center for Investigative Reporting that found nearly 150 women were sterilized from 2006 to 2010 without required state approvals...

Hancock, D-Oakland, said she hoped a new law would “clarify” state policy on prison sterilizations, which are allowed only in cases of medical necessity and with high-level state approval. Sen. Joel Anderson, R-San Diego, vice chairman of the committee, said such legislation also would send a clear signal that the state’s history of forced sterilizations from the early 1900s through the 1970s should never be repeated.

“When we first heard of this issue, we acted quickly and strongly because we all understand that this is about fairness and dignity. This is at the core of basic dignity and human rights,” Anderson said. “We need as a public safety (committee) to send a clear message to all Californians that we will not accept less.”

Neither legislator provided details of what the legislation might include or when it would be introduced. But both discussed possibly adopting federal standards that clearly ban inmates from receiving sterilizations.

Read the full story here:

You can watch the video of the Senate Public Safety Committee hearing here: