Experimenting on Girls of Color
Whose bodies have borne the cost of creating greater personal choice for girls and women in the United States?
A push for new developments in birth control led to experiments on poor girls and women of color, including Native American, African American, Puerto Rican, and poor white women—sometimes under coercion or without informed consent.
Sisters Mary Alice Relf (12 years old) and Minnie Lee Relf (14 years old) were sterilized in 1973 through the Montgomery, Alabama Community Action Program, a federally funded family planning clinic. Their sterilization raised serious questions about racism and medical ethics, and prompted a lawsuit from the Relf family.