Charles Murray Meets Dr. Mengele in the California Prison System

From the Modesto Bee:

Doctors under contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sterilized nearly 150 female inmates from 2006 to 2010 without required state approvals, the Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

Former inmates and prisoner advocates maintain that prison medical staff coerced the women, targeting those deemed likely to return to prison in the future.
Crystal Nguyen, a former Valley State Prison inmate who worked in the prison’s infirmary during 2007, said she often overheard medical staff asking inmates who had served multiple prison terms to agree to be sterilized.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s not right,’ ” said Nguyen, 28. “Do they think they’re animals, and they don’t want them to breed anymore?”
One former Valley State inmate who gave birth to a son in October 2006 said the institution’s OB-GYN, Dr. James Heinrich, repeatedly pressured her to agree to a tubal ligation.

In an interview with CIR, Heinrich said he provided an important service to poor women who faced health risks in future pregnancies because of past Caesarean sections. The 69-year-old Bay Area physician denied pressuring anyone and expressed surprise that local contract doctors had charged for the surgeries. He described the $147,460 total as minimal.

“Over a 10-year period, that isn’t a huge amount of money,” Heinrich said, “compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children – as they procreated more.”


  1. Daniel Uribe July 7, 2013 at 2:54 pm | #

    Dr…. Heinrich?

  2. Cade DeBois (@lifepostepic) July 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm | #

    Wow. So we can’t afford proactive measures toward the complex, long-term issues that come with incarcerating mothers long-term, like addressing poverty or instituional racism, fixing economic inequality, or making comprehensive sex ed and family planning available and accessible to all, but we CAN coerce vulnerable women into being sterlized and pass it off as both cost-effective and socially advantageous? We really are making impressive strides toward our collaspe into utter, irredeemable fascism. Just ghastly.

  3. Kurt Newman July 7, 2013 at 4:20 pm | #

    Not a bit surprised this is happening in California. This is a good book about the pre-history: A monstrous legacy.

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