CESA statement

CESA Statement of Purpose

(1975) Outlines the program of the Committee to End Sterilization Abuse (CESA). (1975)

(Editors Note: The Committee to End Sterlization Abuse issued the document as part of their struggle against the use of sterilization to cure social ills. CWLU members were very active in CESA.)

The women and men of CESA: Committee to End Sterilization Abuse recognize the following:

  1. In the United States today there is a massive drive to convince people that social evils such as poverty, overcrowding, increased crime, poor education, poor health care, etc. are all due to overpopulation. 
  2. Population control programs have been pushed by the U.S. for people in the United States as well as in many countries abroad to do exactly that: control people and keep us from understanding the real causes of our suffering and thus keep us from dealing with the problems by eliminating oppression and exploitation. By pushing population control programs, the United States government and corporations hope to stave off the struggles of people for liberation from direct and indirect domination by the U.S.
  3. Sterilization of women, and to a lesser extent of men, is on the increase in the United States. Sterilizations have tripled in the last five years. This is the result of an increase in sterilizations of women who are Black, Puerto Rican and Chicano and of all working women. 
  4. Many sterilizations are done without women knowing that the result is permanent, that there are complications, or that there are other methods of birth control. Many are done on women who are coerced by threats of withdrawal of services such as welfare, the right to abortion, medical services and the like.
  5. In Puerto Rico, under the guise of needed population control, the U.S. with the collaboration of the colonial government, has carried out programs for the past thirty years which have resulted in the sterilization of fully one third of Puerto Rican women of childbearing age. The Department of Health Education and Welfare in the U.S. has stated that "As U.S. professional attitudes change, it is possible that we may see sterilization become as important in family planning in the fifty states as it already is in Puerto Rico." For this reason CESA will focus particularly on the case of Puerto Rico.

Sterilization abuse will continue unchecked and victimize many more people unless we organize and struggle to stop it.

CESA is therefore working toward the following:

  • to educate and publicize the issues raised by sterilization abuse, namely the purposes that population control programs serve, and to denounce the implementation of racism, sexism and the oppression of working people within the health care system.
  • to demand that families and all women of childbearing age have free access to methods of birth control within high quality, comprehensive health care so that people may exercise choices.
  • the establishment of guidelines on sterilization for New York City hospitals which insure that women give consent only after being truly informed and counseled, are not coerced into being sterilized and are permitted a waiting period of at least 30 days before the actual operation. Existing HEW guidelines provide only 72 hours. The New York City guidelines will set a precedent for all cities in the United States.
  • Both New York City and Puerto Rico fall under Region 11 for health services of the Health Education and Welfare Department of the U.S. federal government. Clearly what is the rule in Puerto Rico today -rampant sterilization abuse -may well become the trend in New York City. Conversely the fight for guidelines in New York will have repercussions in Puerto Rico. The guidelines are the first to go beyond the federal guidelines and will mark a victory toward halting sterilization abuse.
  • initiating legal actions against those who abuse patients' rights by whatever means.

CESA is unaffiliated and invites organizations and individuals to participate in our program to end sterilization abuse. There are a number of ways to participate, among them: sponsorship, inclusion of the issue in your organizational program, help with mailings and compiling mailing lists, donation of your time and/or your money, help with production and distribution of literature and publication of the issue within your communities and your workplaces.

Join us in the struggle to end sterilization abuse!