Thursday, November 5, 2015

'No Mas Bebes | No More Babies'

Below is the trailer for the documentary No Mas Bebes | No More Babies (Moon Canyon Films, 2015), which addresses the tragic and deplorable forced sterilizations of Mexican-American women at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in the 1960s and 1970s. The cases, uncovered in hospital records and turned over by a whistleblower to a young Chicana lawyer, Antonia Hernandez, culminated in a 1975 civil rights lawsuit, Madrigal v. Quilligan, brought by 10 of the women against Los Angeles County doctors, the State of California, and the United States Government. Doris Madrigal was the lead plaintiff and Dr. Edward James Quilligan the principal defendant. Dr. Bernard Rosenfeld was the whistleblower. The lead attorney in the case was Charles Nabarrette. Included are archival footage and interviews.

The 79-minute documentary, which received its world premiere this past June at the Los Angeles Film Festival, was directed by Renee Tajima-Pena, co-produced by Tajima-Pena and Virginia Espino, and edited by Johanna Demetrakas. The cinematographer was Claudio Rocha and the composer, Bronwen Jones. (Read their credits on The Filmmakers page.)

At a time when immigration remains a "hot button issue" and women's rights continue to be threatened and marginalized, awareness of this historic case and the film about it are important. As the director says, however, "I don't think that films create social change. People create social change."* 

The trailer also is available on Vimeo.

No Mas Bebes on FaceBook

By arrangement of the Center for the Study of Genders and Sexualities at Cal State Los Angeles, the film was screened last week, on October 29, and followed by a discussion with Virginia Espino, a historian at UCLA Center for Oral History Research, and Laura Jimenez of California Latinas for Reproductive Justice.

* Quoted from an interview with Tajima-Pena at Colorlines, June 1, 2015.

"Sterilized in the Name of Public Health", American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 95, No. 7, 2005

Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia on GoogleBooks (A case summary is included.)

"3 Excerpts of Survivor Testimonies from Madrigal v. Quilligan Case" at Mississippi Appendectomy Online Archive 

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