“We need a signature here.”—How many times have you heard that phrase at the doctor’s office when signing a document, contract, or at any other place where you may be receiving services? But how often do you stop to read what you’re actually signing?
At our last Civic Cinema of the Spring 2015 semester, we hosted a “sneak preview” film screening of No Más Bebés. Students were exposed to an ugly history of Latinas and Sterilization in the United States, in which Mexican-origin women were coercively sterilized at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center during the late 1960s and 1970s. In launching a federal class action lawsuit known as Madrigal v. Quilligan, 10 sterilized women inspired a movement that allowed others to come out and share their stories. After the screening, Professor Elena R. Gutierrez led a critical discussion that addressed concerns of the “population bomb” and sterilization today, and how the fight for reproductive justice continues.
In the documentary film, mother and plaintiff Consuelo Hermosillo shared in an interview: “And this lady came, I don’t remember seeing her face, I just remember her voice telling me, ‘Mijita, you better sign those papers or your baby could probably die here.’” See more at: S&F Online. Our signature, something we may take for granted, means quite a lot: it means we consent; that we agree with everything below or above our name. If we don’t understand what we are signing, we have the right to pause and demand clarification, especially when we are entrusting our bodies and lives to doctors who are supposed to have our best interest in mind after all, right?
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