Today, host Ali Muldrow continues her special Reproductive Justice Month programming with a show about forced sterilization and the intersection of race, disability, confinement, and reproductive rights.
Our guest is professor Natalie Lira, co-founder of the Sterilization and Social Justice Lab and author of a book about the forced sterilization of Latinx in California in the first half of the twentieth century.
She and Ali talk about a range of topics including how “fitness for parenthood” is a eugenic idea, the racist and ableist dimensions of forced sterilization, and how this dark history connects to current debates around abortion access, contraception, and reproductive justice.
Natalie Lira is assistant professor in the Department of Latina/Latino Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where her research focuses on Latinx studies & ethnic studies, reproductive justice, disability studies, and histories of medicine and public health. She is the co-founder of the Sterilization and Social Justice Lab and author of Laboratory of Deficiency: Sterilization and Confinement in California, 1900–1950s (University of California Press, 2021).
Cover image: An anti–forced sterilization poster by the artist Rachael Romero, 1953. Photo courtesy Library of Congress, shared under public domain.