3 excerpts of survivor testimonies from Madrigal v. Quilligan case

The following testimonies were featured in Jessica Enoch’s (2005) study of the Madrigal v. Quilligan case. Jovita Rivera, Helena Orozco, and Maria Hurtado were 3 of the 10 plaintiffs in the Madrigal v. Quilligan case who were sterilized at the USC-LA Medical Center between 1971 and 1974 without their informed consent :


Jovita Rivera:

“While I was in advanced labor and under anesthesia with complications in my expected childbirth and in great pain, the doctor told me that I had too many children, that I was poor, and a burden to the government and I should sign a paper not to have more children. [. . .] The doctors told me that my tubes could be untied at a later time and I could still have children.” (Madrigal v. Quilligan, 35-36)

Helena Orozco:

“[A] doctor said that if I did not consent to the tubal ligation that the doctor repairing my hernia would use an inferior type of stitching material which would break the next time I became pregnant, but that if I consented to the tubal ligation that the stitches would hold as proper string would be used. No one ever explained what a tubal ligation operation was, I thought it was reversible.” (Madrigal v. Quilligan, 25)

Maria Hurtado:

“I was told by members of the Medical Center’s Staff, through a Spanish-speaking nurse as interpreter, that the State of California did not permit a woman to undergo more than three caesarean section operations and that since this was to be my third caesarean section, the doctor would have to do something to me to prevent my having another caesarean section operation. No explanation nor description of the tubal ligation, which was later performed on me without my knowledge and free and informed consent, was given to me.” (Madrigal v. Quilligan, 48-49)



Enoch, Jessica. 2005. “Survival Stories: Feminist Historiographic Approaches to Chicana Rhetorics of Sterilization Abuse.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly (Summer 2005). 

Madrigal v. Quilligan. No. 75-2057. Ninth Circuit U.S. District Court. 30 June 1978.

~ by Serena on November 18, 2008.

2 Responses to “3 excerpts of survivor testimonies from Madrigal v. Quilligan case”

  1. I was the consulting anthropolgist on the case and suffered from deep depression for two years afterwards. This was nothing in comparison to that suffered by the women.

    Carlos Velez-Ibanez

  2. I am the daughter of another survivor, Maria Figueroa. She was one of the ten women who tried to find justice for what was done to her. I am now 41 years old and I know that this affected my mother greatly. My mother and father may have been poor back then, but with the education she provided for me, she was wealthy beyond measure. That doctor had no right to predetermine our lives. He was wrong!

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