Puerto Rico: the covert campaign to sterilize women.

Bauza V
MS.. 1994 Sep-Oct; 5(2):14.

Contraception was legalized in Puerto Rico in 1937, the same year the Puerto Rican government passed Law 116 allowing sterilization to be conducted under the direction of a eugenics board. Shortly thereafter, a program to sterilize women, supported and endorsed by the US government and Clarence Gamble, heir of Procter and Gamble, was launched through door-to-door visits in rural regions by workers from Puerto Rico's health department heralding the operation to the island poorest women. Post-partum sterilizations were conducted almost routinely by 1946 in a number of hospitals. A 1947 Princeton University survey, however, found that more than 25% of women who had been sterilized regretted their decision. Puerto Rican nationalists and Catholics argued against the program in the early 1950s and Law 116 was ultimately repealed in 1960, but not before 35% of women of childbearing age had been sterilized in Puerto Rico.

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