Women As Out Of Control Breeders

A recent article in the Sacramento Bee discussed the forced sterilization of female inmates in a California prison after the Center for Investigative Reporting found that at least 148 women received tubal litigations which violated prison rules.

Females thought likely to return to prison were the targets of coercion, according to former inmates. Also, when discussing the payment he received for performing the tubal ligation, the institution’s OB-GYN, Dr. James Heinrich stated that: “Over a 10-year period, that isn’t a huge amount of money compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children – as they procreated more.”

I have heard plenty of comments accusing women of breeding wildly and irresponsibly. Statements such as the one by Heinrich confirms such believes and in many cases, for example when discussing abortion and reproductive choices and rights, women are accused of becoming pregnant and by extension are expected to carry the responsibility of pregnancy all on their own while the men involved, and the responsibilities they carry, are not even mentioned. It is so rarely discussed that the father of a child is just as responsible as the mother of a child. It should not have to be mentioned, but unfortunately it does. In regards to the topic under discussion, there seems to be an underlying message stating that women are deceptive out of control breeders (in fact women’s sexuality is often described as deceptive and alluring). Thereby there is need for an outside authority to step in and control the women before their breeding is negatively affecting people around them.

There is also a lack of discussion surrounding social and cultural factors that play a major part in women’s pregnancies. By doing so we are again placing sole responsibility on women while often denying accounting for factors such as affordable birth control, proper sexual education, access to abortion, or decent family planning, and again the role of fathers. The belief that some women’s reproduction needs to be controlled displays the assertion that some women should be allowed to decide for themselves while some women should not.

The idea that women bare sole responsibility for pregnancies and children (often presented by powerful and authoritative sources) became painfully clear to me as I read the 2010 book Is There Anything Good About Men: How Cultures Flourish By Exploiting Men by Roy Baumeister (who, on the back of the book, has been described as: “…one of the most brilliant and influential psychologists of our generation…”. For example, Baumeister, on several occasions, refer to a woman and her children: “It is men who must be induced to fall prey to romantic mythology, so that they will enter into marriage, where their money can be tapped to support a woman and her children, regardless of how their relationship to that particular woman unfolds” (p. 242).

Just as Baumeister states that men fall prey and are tapped for resources so is the article showing that women’s child bearing should be controlled to avoid society from being tapped for money. It also implies that women carry sole responsibility for pregnancies and for children.


  1. Two points: Transmen can get preggers, too. It could be a wanted pregnancy, or an unitended pregnancy. It could be a result of rape. Regardless of the variables, anyone with a vagina can get knocked up.

    My question about womyn in prison getting preggers is this: who is the sperminator? Are guards getting the prisoners pregnant? Is it via rape? Is it via consensual sex? Regardless, the guards need to be the ones held responsible.

    (I realize that my comment about transmen contradicts my second point. However, the US court and prison system ignores someone’s genitalia. It’s especially bad for transwomyn because they have a high likelihood of being raped and/or murdered in prison.

    • Good points Serena. The article did not state details but it seems like women that had many kids/were pregnant again and were deemed likely to return were approached. Some probably became pregnant on the outside while some did on the inside.

  2. In my opinion forced sterilization goes back to WWII and Hitler’s plans of eugenics. In the south – sterilization was also force on the indigent. None of this is correct – even if it is allowed by law.
    When society allows complete control, with no freedom of choice for any part of the population it is a sign things will crumble in the near future.
    Both men and women need to take responsibility for their actions and work together to provide moral and ethical education to the upcoming generation as will as loving homes and support. Government’s responsibility is to provide access to healthcare to all no just the wealthy or only lop-sided to one gender or the other.
    Comment on anyone with a vagina can get knocked up is that that vagina does need to have working ovaries and uterus attached. No matter what the gender of the person that has these organs they should receive equal and full healthcare.

    • Hi Margaret, thanks for commenting, excellent points. This is absolutely eugenics masked as helping poor women receive health care and keeping society a “better place”.

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