No Más Bebés: New PBS Documentary Reveals Population Control Of “Poor Who Cannot Adequately Feed Or Clothe The Children They Already Have”

Mothers like Consuelo Hermosillo were in labor when medical staff urged signed consent for a “life saving” treatment. Unbeknown to the mothers, doctors performed a tubal ligation, by clamping, cutting or burning of the fallopian tubes without disclosing the exact procedure.

A small group of Mexican immigrant women sued county doctors, the state and the U.S. government after they were sterilized while giving birth at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

anonymous asked:

I recently saw some pro-life protesters holding up signs that said something along the lines of 'abortion is always ableist' and 'pro-choice is fundamentally ableist' and I was just wondering what they mean by that? This blog seems to have a good understanding on ableism and I really fail to understand these protesters signs. I'm pro-choice, so maybe I can't see how it's ableist because I'm biased, but I'd like an explaination to how it could be construed this way.

My guess would be that they’re referring to cases where the parents choose to terminate a pregnancy because they’ve been told that there’s a high chance the child will be disabled. Decisions like that are definitely products of an abelist society that devalues disabled lives, gives abled people the power to decide whose lives are “worth living,” makes the resources and knowledge necessary for raising a disabled child very difficult to access for a lot of people, and of course creates the class of “disabled” people in the first place (according to the social model of disability). This isn’t just ableist–it’s eugenics.

But it’s really disingenuous to claim that the fault for this ableism rests solely on the parents’ shoulders in all cases–the solution to this problem would be to destroy ableist structures that devalue disabled existence and deny disabled people resources, not to indiscriminately attack a means by which some of the effects of ableist structures are sometimes enacted (i.e. abortion), especially considering that the people who seek abortions are often vulnerable members of society themselves. If they cared about disabled children, they would push for resources and education to be more readily available to their parents and communities, and I don’t think holding up signs that read “abortion is always ableist” is doing that. So, like I said, really disingenuous.

Besides which, not all abortions occur for this reason? So I’m not sure where they’re even coming from there. I’m stumped.


no one else seems to find it as disturbing as me that

1) eugenics is actively being carried out against people with Down Syndrome is the U.S. today

2) that eugenics campaigns are actively being carried out against the autistic community and other disabled populations

3) that people think this is justifiable and will balk at you calling it for what it is

4) that it is so normalized in our society that a TV series can very lightly, barely try to probe the subject and almost absolutely no one gets it

reproductive rights issues:

  • abortion
  • birth control

also reproductive rights issues:

  • doctors performing c sections during births without informed consent
  • eugenics via sterilization requirements for trans people to change documentation
  • eugenics via forced/nonconsenting sterilization of disabled people
  • eugenics via forced/nonconsenting sterilization of people of color
  • eugenics via selective abortion of disabled people (people with Down syndrome especially) (and yes, i said people, because these are abortions sought by people who WANT to be pregnant–but only with non-disabled children)

if your reproductive rights activism doesn’t incorporate ALL OF THE ABOVE, i want no part of it.

A brief history of the subjugation of, and violence against, deaf people in the United States

The United States has a long (and still thriving) tradition of violence and subjugation of minorities, and d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing people are no exception. On some of the physical and mental violence and oppression leveled at d/Deaf people:

1. Historically. deaf children were forcibly institutionalized and bound and beaten to prevent them from using sign language.

2. Historically, attempts were made to forcibly sterilize deaf people and prevent them from marrying.

2a. The leading anti-deaf group in the eugenics movement still exists and advocates against deaf rights today: the Alexander Graham Bell Association.

2b. You can find Bell’s detailed “eradication plan” in his lecture “Memoir Upon the Formation of a Deaf Variety of the Human Race.”

3. Today, deaf people continue to be denied the right to education solely on the basis of their deafness:

4. Deaf people continue to be denied the right to work based solely on their deafness.

5. Deaf people are arrested without being told their rights, and jailed while denied an interpreter and pen or paper.

6. Today, deaf people are attacked and killed by the police for “failing to respond to verbal commands.” Most recently:

7. Deaf people are endangered daily in hospitals without access to sign language interpreters or mental health professionals.

8. Sometimes within hours of a deaf child’s birth, doctors inform parents their child is “broken” and can only be “cured” with CIs and preventing the use of sign language.

8a. Hearing children are encouraged to sign.

9. Doctors and tech companies knowingly inserted defective cochlear implants into the skulls of infants, children and adults (for years, for $).

10. Deaf boys are 3X and deaf girls 2X more likely to experience sexual assault than their hearing peers.

The answer to someone wishing to abort a child due to evidence of a disability isn’t “make it illegal”, it’s “provide more support for disabled children and adults”. The problem isn’t the matter of abortion, it’s the ableist society we live in, the idea that disabled lives are more difficult, more costly, take more of a toll on the lives of those around us. Disabled life is more difficult because abled people don’t understand us and refuse to accommodate us, not because our disabilities are inherently bad. 

You don’t get to take away someone’s choice in the matter of their pregnancy, no matter the reason. It’s still their body and their decision. If there’s more support–all kinds, including financial, emotional, and physical–for disabled people, fewer pregnant people will choose to abort fetuses that will become disabled children. If there’s more acceptance of disabled people, fewer pregnant people will “mourn the life their child will never have” and instead celebrate the one they do. 

Pregnant people should always have the right to choose what happens to their body. The information that informs that choice is what needs to change, not the fact that the choice is theirs. 

I want to delve into a dangerous topic. I want to talk about abortion and eugenics.

Even when abortion was illegal, it was sometimes performed legally in hospitals if the pregnant person was at risk of death, or if they were disabled. People with Down Syndrome sometimes found themselves forced into hospitals to have their pregnancies terminated, often against their will. Then abortion was legalized and I will say, flat-out that this was a good thing.

I believe in free, unlimited access to legal, safe abortion. Whether you believe life begins at conception or at birth, you still have no say over somebody else’s bodily autonomy. It is abhorrent to force somebody to carry a pregnancy to term if they don’t want it. Especially considering what a toll pregnancy has on a body. Also, legislating abortion only increases the number of unsafe, back alley abortions, with more and more people becoming injured or dying by coat hangers and knitting needles. Abortion needs to be safe and legal and accessible, full stop.

Over the last few decades there has been a rise in availability of pre-natal testing. Sonograms and amniocentesis leads to pregnant people finding out sooner and more frequently if their fetus has an impairment or a genetic disorder. Since genetic testing has become more available, the number of abortions due to “defect” are on the rise. Fetuses that are screened and found to have Down Syndrome or spina bifida are being aborted more and more, with promises from doctors and nurses that the parents can always “try again.”

Over the past few decades more and more money is going into genetic autism research, in the effort to create a test to reveal whether or not a fetus will become an autistic person.

Aborting a fetus simply because of impairment or disease is eugenics.

Pro-choice advocates often say things like “forcing a woman to carry a disabled fetus to term is abuse,” with emphasis placed on the idea that disabled children are burdens on their parents and society. They talk about “quality of life” of both the parents and the potential child, but usually weighted more to the parents. This is all ableist rhetoric. To be entirely honest, all children are “burdens” in that they need to be taken care of and protected and housed and fed and clothed without being able to contribute to society. But we don’t usually tell parents that all their healthy, able-bodied kids are burdens, do we? We call children “gifts” and “treasures.”

Anti-choice advocates often say things like “Disabled children are a gift from God! They’re a blessing!” But this is ableist rhetoric too. It dehumanizes disabled children, turns them into objects and life lessons. Disabled children are human beings just like everyone else, with gifts and faults.

When a pregnant person is told by the doctors that their fetus is disabled or has a genetic disorder, they hear a lot of ableist rhetoric. They’re told by doctors that their future child will have no quality of life. That they’ll be a burden. That they’ll suffer. That their life is basically worthless. Doctors often urge and wheedle and even bully pregnant patients into terminating disabled fetuses. They are told that even if they follow through with the pregnancy but give the baby up for adoption–because they can’t afford to take care of a special needs child–the child will likely not be adopted because “nobody wants a broken child.”

So where do we draw the line? Do we make it illegal to terminate a disabled fetus? No. That sets us down a slippery slope and then it’s only a short trip from “some fetuses can’t be terminated” to “no abortion for anyone,” which leads us right back to back-alley knitting needle abortions.

Do we limit access to pregnancy screenings? Maybe. In India, when more and more couples were aborting fetuses determined to be female due to institutionalized sexism and misogyny, they made it illegal, as of 1994, to find out the sex of your child during pregnancy. But that could also lead us down a slippery slope. After all, parents are entitled to be prepared for what’s coming next right? And especially in regards to genetic diseases like Tay-Sach’s, where the child will be in excruciating pain and suffering, and then die by age four, isn’t it sometimes kinder to know? I’m not sure, this is an ethical discussion that I’m not sure I’m qualified to make a definitive ruling on.

Here’s what I think should happen. I think that when a pregnant person discovers their child has an impairment or genetic disorder, they need to be immediately educated. They should be given research into the condition, and introduced to living adults who have the condition in question. Not just parents who believe their disabled child is a burden, but living adults who can tell their own stories about growing up with the condition in question, and give voice to their own quality of life. Pregnant people should be encouraged to make informed, educated decisions, not just jump at their doctors suggestions uninformed.

Also, we need increased access to support systems and services. It should be a lot easier than it is to take care of a “special needs” child and raise them to be an independent adult.

We need to destroy the systemic ableism that tells us disabled people are burdens, disabled people are pitiable, disabled people suffer, disabled people can never be healthy and happy and live long successful lives. We also need to destroy the idea that quality of life is determined by accomplishment and productivity.

Also, please remember that doctors are not the be-all, end-all definitive voice of what is. A doctor’s opinion is an educated OPINION. Feel encouraged to get a second opinion and to do your own research.

Our enemy is not disability. Our enemy is not abortion. Our enemy is ignorance and oppression and a society that benefits from racist, sexist, ableist exploitation and oppression.

If you feel bad for the parents of disabled children, don’t promote eugenicist ideals designed to limit the number of disabled people who are born. That doesn’t help anyone. Instead, support the development of more resources for the parents of disabled children. 

Support education and accessibility before you support literal genocide. 

Roma fear being brushed out of the history of the Holocaust | Al Jazeera America

Nazis declared the Roma to be ‘racially inferior’, so Roma — like Jews and Serbs — faced a genocide in Europe. So why is it that despite Anti-Ziganism still being present in Europe, 70 years after the Holocaust, the Roma phlight in Europe — then and now — is virtually ignored?

The Forgotten Genocide: http://this-is-not-humanity.tumblr.com/post/93735547728/the-forgotten-genocide

Roma Rights Here, Roma Rights Now: http://this-is-not-humanity.tumblr.com/post/76225222028/human-rights-here-roma-rights-now-video-to

In a 2010 public lecture, Bill Gates attributed global warming to “overpopulation” and touted zero population growth as a solution achievable “[i]f we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, and reproductive health services.”94 The argument is disingenuous: As Gates certainly knows, the poor people who are the targets of his campaigns are responsible for no more than a tiny percentage of the environmental damage that underlies climate change. The economist Utsa Patnaik has demonstrated that when population figures are adjusted to account for actual per capita demand on resources, e.g., fossil fuels and food, the greatest “real population pressure” emanates not from India or Africa, but from the advanced countries.95 The Gates Foundation is well aware of this imbalance and works not to redress it but to preserve it – by blaming poverty not on imperialism but on unrestrained sexual reproduction “in places where we don’t want it.”

From Malthus to the present day, the myth of overpopulation has supplied reliable ideological cover for the ruling class as it appropriates ever greater shares of the people’s labor and the planet’s wealth. As argued in Aspects No. 55, “Malthus’s heirs continue to wish us to believe that people are responsible for their own misery; that there is simply not enough to go around; and to ameliorate that state of wretchedness we must not attempt to alter the ownership of social wealth and redistribute the social product, but instead focus on reducing the number of people.”96 In recent years BMGF’s publicity apparatus, exploiting Western alarm about “climate change,” has helped create a resurgence of the overpopulation hysteria last experienced during the 1970s in the wake of Paul Erlich’s bestseller The Population Bomb.97

—  The Real Agenda of the Gates Foundation, IV. A Broader Agenda

Jacob Levich

[photo // post]

[[ Image Description: A photo featuring a serval crouched low, looking up and snarling a warning with ears flattened, with a post on it by user @autisticliving.

The post reads: “The scariest thing about being developmentally disabled is that statements such as “stupid people shouldn’t be allowed to breed” and “people like that shouldn’t even be born” aren’t radical. These views aren’t just propagated by extremist right wing groups, they are casual conversation around the coffee tables of people who consider themselves liberal. Advocating for our genocide is so normalized and expected that it is mentioned as casually as the weather.” ]]

A miniature evolution rant for science fiction writers

1. A living thing cannot be more or less evolved. It can be more or less derived, meaning it differs from some basal ancestor in more or fewer ways. It can be more or less complex, which is by no means the same as more or less derived, nor do being more derived and being more complex necessarily correlate. But evolution doesn’t stop. Even when an organism changes very little over many, many generations, that is because those same traits that served its ancestor well are still beneficial or non-detrimental and thus still being selected for. Claiming something is more evolved because it is either more derived or more complex is like claiming a cubist painting is more painted than a Renaissance painting.

2. Likewise, it is impossible to reach the pinnacle of evolution. Evolution does not have a linear plot. It is a sandbox game. Our personal brand of human intelligence is glorious and wonderful and tremendous, but it was neither inevitable nor necessary. Again, evolution doesn’t stop. It is a constant interplay between species and environment, defined by birth, death, and change. A change in the environment alters the needs of the species. A change in a species alters the environment. Nothing is ever “perfectly evolved”, even for its specific environment, because every alteration requires alteration in response, even if that alteration is very small. There is certainly no such thing as a perfect species.

3. A change in the environment is a change in the environment. Until someone discovers or invents a form of true immortality, nothing we do can actually halt our own evolution- it can only change the course. As a general rule, the more members of a species who survive each generation, the better that species is doing, and the more diverse its genome, the less likely one or two catastrophic things will wipe it off the face of the planet. You don’t know what traits will be valuable for future challenges we face and what traits won’t be. If I remember correctly (I’ll dig up my notes later), the jaw was derived from an initially bizarre and useless mutation in the skull, and several of our ear bones were derived from what used to be part of our jaw articulation. So eugenicists and people who claim not to be eugenicists but use eugenics arguments can all fuck right off.

4. A single individual cannot evolve. Evolution does not occur on the individual level. It occurs on the population level. When a single individual changes to better suit their environment, that is adaptation, not evolution. Adaptation is of course a part of evolution, but it is not the same thing. This, combined with points 1 and 2, means you personally cannot become or choose to be more evolved than other people. That is not how anything works, at all, ever.

Thank you for your time, everyone!

Payments Start For N.C. Eugenics Victims, But Many Won’t Qualify


Debra Blackmon was about to turn 14 in January 1972, when two social workers came to her home.

Court and medical documents offer some details about what happened that day. Blackmon was “severely retarded,” they note, and had “psychic problems” that made her difficult to manage during menstruation.

Her parents were counseled during the visit, and it was deemed in Blackmon’s best interest that she be sterilized.

Blackmon is among the more than 7,000 people in North Carolina — many poor, many African-American, many disabled — who were sterilized between 1929 and 1976 in one of the country’s most aggressive eugenics programs.

North Carolina passed a law to compensate victims of the state-run program last year. This week, the state sent out the first checks to qualified applicants. But Blackmon, like many others who are fighting for restitution, is not among them.

[Continue reading article and listen to the story on NPR.]

Unlike horror and fantasy, however, SF is kinda obsessed with stories of “cure,” and other medical stuff like prosthetic technologies and genetic engineering (a.k.a., eugenics). Because of that technological (and medical) focus, SF opens up spaces to question/challenge/explore what it means to human, and, perhaps more importantly for this conversation, who gets to be counted as human. Since SF is a genre where writers set out their visions of what may come, it’s essential that care is taken in how they create their idealized (or dystopic) futures: if disability is “cured” in the future, a very common notion in SF, then what does that tell people with disabilities of how they are valued today? I really believe that SF holds the potential to be a leading genre in re-imagining disability in creative ways that challenges the reductive and harmful stereotypes that society currently holds…it’s just going to take a while for a good chunk of SF writers to identify their (often able-bodied) assumptions about what it means to live with a disability and to start writing three-dimensional, realistic characters who have a disability. Also, we need a plurality of voices in SF creating visions of the future and that must include people with disabilities (visible and invisible, physical and mental)!
—  from my interview with Kathryn Allan, co-editor of Accessing the Future 

Sorry kid. That guy you’re with accidentally helped eugenicists rank races like Pokemon.

6 Geniuses Who Saw Their Inventions Turn Evil

#6. Alfred Binet’s IQ Test Got Hijacked by Eugenics-Obsessed Racists

First, Binet himself knew his test wasn’t all that scientific. It came with tons of disclaimers stressing that the test does not measure static intelligence and should not be used to label people in any way. And, for the single purpose of figuring out a kid’s level of development, it worked pretty well. But then American eugenicists got hold of his work. The eugenicists loved the idea of intelligence tests because they wanted to use them to identify and weed out “the idiots” from the gene pool, which, by sheer coincidence, all happened to include anyone who wasn’t a white American. Never mind that the score can absolutely be improved with education – why burden the system with teaching children when we can just breed superior intelligence into them!

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Between 1898 and 1950 in Barceloneta, Puerto Rico over 20,000 women were sterilized by U.S. Doctors without their knowledge or consent—a practice which also took place on the rest of the island. This was especially prominent when in 1937 U.S. Public Law 136 legalized sterilization of Puerto Ricans for “non-medical reasons.” The impetus for this law was that U.S. Law makers were concerned about the declining Anglo population vis-a-vis the high birth rates of Latinxs. As a result, in order to keep White dominance they passed laws that mitigated Puerto Rican births. This unknown history epitomizes what we mean by White supremacy: the enactment of laws, policies, beliefs, and eugenics—a system, not just individuals—to maintain control, dominance, and the status quo. And the connections between eugenics and police brutality are astounding.


[VIDEO: The documentary “No Mas Bebes” tells the story of Mexican immigrants who went to a Los Angeles hospital to give birth and ended up sterilized against their will.]

No Mas Bebes: Film Shows Case of Mexican Women Sterilized in US

Ten Mexican women decided to stand up and demand justice after being sterilized against their will while giving birth in a Los Angeles hospital.
A powerful and damning new documentary telling the story of Mexican immigrant women who suffered forced sterilization in Los Angeles in the 1970s has premiered on PBS, shedding light on the little-known but shocking reproductive justice case in the United States.

“No Mas Bebes,” or “No More Babies,” tells the story of Mexican women who went to the Los Angeles County Hospital to give birth to their babies, where they were coerced into being sterilized against their will. The women did not know until later that they had signed consent forms, in English, to have their tubes tied.

One woman recalled being told while in labor that if she didn’t sign the papers her baby would die.

“The most important point of the film is the idea of the framework of reproductive justice, that a woman has a right to not have children if she chooses, or to have a child and raise that child in dignity,” the film’s director and producer Renee Tajima-Pena told Colorlines.

The documentary focuses on the landmark 1975 case Madrigal vs. Quilligan of 10 Mexican immigrant women who went to the hospital for emergency C-sections and were left forcibly sterilized.

The plaintiffs in the case, Mexican immigrant mothers who were either housewives or factory workers, decided to seek justice in a David and Goliath case against the hospital. A young Chicana lawyer, Antonia Hernandez, championed the case with a whistleblower doctor.

The women faced a difficult legal battle in an equally difficult social context. Mexican women felt sidelined in the budding but male-dominated Chicano movement, white feminists were advocating easier access to voluntary sterilization, and public opinion worried that population growth doomed the planet and that poor women, especially women of color, should only have as many children as they were able to afford.

The Madrigal vs. Quilligan case resulted in a regulatory victory when the U.S. government agreed to make bilingual consent forms mandatory for sterilization. The case is also considered historic for influencing health professionals’ attitudes toward poor and marginalized communities.

The U.S. has a history of forced sterilization of poor and marginalized women. In the 1970s, poor Black women on social assistance and Native American women were also forcibly sterilized. Working class Puerto Rican women were also subjected to forced sterilized at various points, reaching a level of about 35 percent of Puerto Rican women between 20 and 49-years-old being sterilized in the late 1960s, according to one study.

In female prisons in California, women were sterilized against their will as recently as 2010.

While the lawsuit was historic, the Mexican victims of forced sterilization featured in the film still don’t really have answers as to why the doctors did it.

But through “No Mas Bebes,” the women have been able to tell the little-known history of a dark but important chapter of the fight for reproductive justice in the United States.