No Más Bebés: Film screening + Q&A with Filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña
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. 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.
Renee Tajima-Peña is an Academy Award nominated filmmaker whose credits include Who Killed Vincent Chin?, MY AMERICA...or Honk if You Love Buddha, and Calavera Highway. Her films have screened at the Cannes Sundance and Toronto film festivals and she has been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship, USA Broad Fellowship, Alpert Award in the Arts for Film/Video, a Peabody and a Dupont-Columbia Award.
Tajima-Peña teaches social documentary at UCLA, where she is a professor of Asian American Studies, the director of the Center for EthnoCommunications and holds an endowed chair in Japanese American Studies. She never went to film school, but traces the origins as a filmmaker to her student activism. She was chair of the United Front Against Apartheid at Harvard, and while a student, made her first short film documenting the Socialist New Jewel Movement in Grenada. She has been deeply involved in filmmakers of color movements and started her career as a member of the Third World Newsreel film collective.
Presented by IRWG's Reproductive Justice Facutly Program, cosponsored by Sexual Rights and Reproductive Justice, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Fellowship in Family Planning, Medical Students for Choice, Students for Choice, Department of Women's Studies, Law Students for Reproductive Justice, Latina/o Studies, The Michigan Journal of Gender & Law, Latino Law Students Association, Michigan Immigration and Labor Law Association, ACLU MLaw Chapter, and Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, The Michigan Journal of Race & Law.