No Más Bebés tells the story of a little-known but landmark event in reproductive justice, when a small group of Mexican immigrant women sued county doctors, the state, and the U.S. government after they were sterilized while giving birth at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
See the film’s trailer here: http://www.nomasbebesmovie.com/
Marginalized and fearful, many of these mothers spoke no English, and charged that they had been coerced into tubal ligation — having their tubes tied — by doctors during the late stages of labor. Often the procedure was performed after asking the mothers under duress. The mothers’ cause was eventually taken up by a young Chicana lawyer armed with hospital records secretly gathered by a whistle-blowing doctor. In their landmark 1975 civil rights lawsuit, Madrigal v. Quilligan, they argued that a woman’s right to bear a child is guaranteed under the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.
The filmmakers spent five years tracking down sterilized mothers and witnesses. Most were reluctant at first to come forward, but ultimately agreed to tell their story. Set against a debate over the impact of Latino immigration and overpopulation, and the birth of a movement for Chicana rights and reproductive choice, No Más Bebés revisits a powerful story that still resonates today. The film was released in 2014 and debuted on PBS in February 2015.
ABOUT VIRGINIA ESPINO: Virginia Espino, the film’s producer, conducted the original research on the Madrigal case that formed the basis for No Más Bebés. Her work was published in Las Obreras: Chicana Politics of Work and Family, edited by Vicki L. Ruiz, and Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia. She is the former Program Coordinator for Latina/o History at the UCLA Center for Oral History Research where she has interviewed the leading figures in contemporary Mexican American history. Espino received her PhD in History from Arizona State University. See an interview with the Espino on the film here: https://rewire.news/article/2016/02/01/conversation-mas-bebes-filmmakers-virginia-espino-renee-tajima-pena/
ABOUT CONSUELO HERMOSILLO: Consuelo Hermosillo was one of the original plaintiffs in the Madrigal v Quilligan lawsuit in 1975, and is a featured activist in the film. She lives today in the Los Angeles area.
Sponsored by the Department of Political Science, Department of Ethnic Studies, School of Journalism and Communication, Oregon Humanities Center, Center for Latino/Latin American Studies, Cinema Studies, and the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics.