For many, the concepts of womanhood and motherhood are so intertwined, that it’s impossible to imagine one without the other. A woman’s most cherished dream is to lovingly hold her child in her hand.
But in 1975, for 10 Latin-American women, this dream was destined to remain unfulfilled. And, all thanks to a piece of paper that they unwittingly signed before undergoing emergency C-sections. Around 40 years ago LA County doctors allegedly performed unauthorized Tubal Ligation on these immigrant Mexican women. Tubal Ligation is an irreversible sterilization technique. The doctors acted on the belief that these women could do without any further children. The matter only came to light when the women approached their doctors with doubts regarding reversible family planning methods. They then sued the state and the U.S. government violating their civil rights.
This lawsuit, Madrigal v. Quilligan, forms the basis of director Renee Tajima-Peña’s poignant film No Más Bebés (No More Babies), which aired on PBS. The film follows the mental anguish and legal battles that these women faced. It also takes a look at the Government funded family programs, the under-resourced maternity wards being manned by inexperienced doctors and how women from the lower income group were targeted to undergo sterilizations without their knowledge and consent.