Sosa: Forced sterilizations are crimes against us

Columnist Zoami Calles-Rios Sosa discusses forced sterilization and medical neglect in the United States.

Zoami Calles-Rios Sosa

Every single day, it seems something new comes out that makes me ask this question: What the hell’s going on? I will say I was utterly surprised when I read the news about the nurse whistleblower that came forward about forced sterilizations and medical neglect at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility in Ocilla, Georgia. These procedures are done by a doctor that is known as the “uterus collector.”

In all honesty, medical neglect does not surprise me. It’s a bit sad to think this is the norm. What is entirely mind-blowing is the idea women are being forced to have sterilizations.

Forced sterilizations are the kind of things we read in history books. The bad things we got wrong as human beings; the mistakes of the past to never be repeated again. Forced sterilizations are crimes against humanity as recognized by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, but we don’t need anyone to tell us that. Yet the greatest country in the world is accused of doing these today.

Yes, the United States of America: the land of the free, the home of the brave. 

As I wrote earlier, are we the people that cage children? Are we now too, the people that force sterilization of women? 

I suppose we once were.


Eugenics is the practice or advocacy that some human traits are better than others. That by the mere act of stopping certain people from procreating, specific human characteristics could be eradicated. If you think about it, who gets to decide what traits are good and which ones are bad? Is it an everyday Jane and Joe? Or is it rich and powerful people?

Eugenics is closely related to all forced sterilization movements. For it is those who feel strongly that their genetics are superior to others that seek to limit the procreation of those they deem “lesser” humans and promote eugenics’ ideals.

Forced Sterilization and the Supreme Court

The legality of sterilization of certain people was tested legally in the United States Supreme Court in 1924, led by a strong supporter of the Eugenic ideals. 

In the Buck v. Bell case, Carrie Buck was the first person sterilized due to her perceived notion she was not “normal” enough. I use the word “normal” in quotations here to show that the way Buck’s state of mind was established is, at best questionable but definitely not beyond a reasonable doubt. 

The Supreme Court essentially ruled that because Buck’s mom was of “feeblemindedness and sexual promiscuity” that Buck would be the same, as would Buck’s child. Chief Justice Holmes’ statement was, “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” 

Thus, the States had the right to force sterilization on those who are “imbeciles.” The term is used in a broad sense, but mostly affecting those who may suffer from some or possible mental handicaps.

The case failed to mention that at 16 years old, Carrie Buck was raped by her foster care parents’ nephew. She became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter named Vivian. In order to move past this, the foster parents decided to have her committed because Buck showed signs of being a “feebleminded” girl. 

Buck had made the honor roll in school, as did her daughter, and her state of mind did not seem to be an issue beforehand. How many “feebleminded” people make the honor roll in school?

The case, in itself, is just odd. Why did the foster family not commit Buck until after being raped and impregnated by her rapist, their nephew? 

Regardless, the case still stands today as it was never struck down. 

The Aftermath

In fact, this very same precedent was used by the Nazis. They based their sterilization laws on our American ideals. It is our Buck v. Bell ruling that ended up being the foundation of their own laws.

In Iowa, 1,861 people were sterilized under the cover of the new law until 1963. Thousands more were forced through the procedures in other states.

In 1937, the U.S. government enacted Law 116, which allowed for the sterilization of 37 percent of Puerto Rican women, most in their 20s. The number at that time is around 160,363 women. This law was also repealed around the 1960s. 

Is it really far-fetched?

Some refuse to see this as anything but a false accusation from the left or the Democrats. I just want everyone to think about this. Even if this were to be false allegations for whatever reason, think about the implications this brings. Do we not, as human beings, demand an investigation takes place to make sure what is going on here?

We cannot allow the human rights of others to be degraded simply because we don’t like them or because they lack the “right” kind of documentation or party affiliation.

Crimes against humanity are crimes against each and every single one of us. If we think for a second things like these can’t happen to us, we are wrong. 

The degradation and erosion of human rights does not happen overnight. It is gradually chipped away. 

I ask that everyone put their human hat on and throw away their party affiliation (or lack of) and, for a moment, do the right thing. Contact your Congresspeople, share the articles on social media and demand we get to the bottom of this.