By Kaitlyn Schaeffer
Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Rene Tamjina-Pena’s latest documentary details the horrific story of several Mexican women who were sterilized in US hospitals during the 1960s and 1970s. No Mas Bebes depicts the women, often young, afraid, and unable to speak English, and explains how they ended up on operating tables despite a lack of complete consent (and in some cases despite a lack of any consent at all).
The documentary was released yesterday on PBS. It’s cautionary tale is a sobering reminder of why we have such strict consent laws today. The film captures the narrative that lies behind a lawsuit that was brought before the Supreme Court. In Madrigal v. Quiligan, Antonia Hernandez sought redress for the sterilization of migrant women. The court ultimately found in favor of the doctors, but it did lead to stricter consent laws throughout the country, and the addition of special protections for non-native English speakers.
Preview the video here.