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September 24, 1973

Involuntary Sterilization

JAMA. 1973;225(13):1658. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220410058016

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To the Editor.—  Recent reports from Montgomery, Ala, of 11 teen-age girls having been "involuntarily" sterilized in a federally funded birth-control clinic should serve to awaken us to the need for closer monitoring of such facilities. There is also another aspect of this problem that is becoming quite commonplace: In many parts of the country, tubal ligations are being performed casually, concomitant with legal abortions both in hospitals and in independent clinics. Abortion proponents must realize that sterilization under overt or covert pressure is just as much of an affront to free women as was forced pregnancy.The illiterate black mother of the 12- and 14-year-old girls who thought she was authorizing the birth control shot apparently had the release form for sterilization shoved in front of her for the affixing of her "X." In a similar vein, there may be other young women frantic to escape from the tightening