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.
Renee Tajima-Peña is Professor of Asian American studies at UCLA and 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.