California’s use of forced sterilizations represents a dark chapter in the state’s history. Up until the 1970s, state hospitals and institutions implemented a eugenics program as a way to decrease specific demographic groups including Latinos, Blacks and Native Americans. In more recent decades, California prisons performed procedures—without patient consent — that left hundreds of women unable to have children. Now, the clock is ticking for survivors to apply for compensation from a $4.5 million fund the state established in 2021. As the Dec. 31 deadline looms, relatively few survivors have applied and the state has rejected most of them. We’ll talk about survivors’ experiences, why they aren’t receiving compensation, and hear from advocates on what should happen next.
More information on how to apply for compensation for involuntary sterilization can be found at the California Victim Compensation Board website. Applications are available in English and Spanish.Anyone needing assistance with the application can call the compensation board’s toll-free helpline at 1-800-777-9229 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.