'At the request of an Oklahoma court, a mother of seven has been sterilized as part of a judge’s order, setting a damning precedent in the process.
Summer Thyme Creel, 34, had the procedure in November after the judge wrote he could consider it at her sentencing if she chose to do so.
Although the procedure was “voluntary,” the court order to do so crosses some ominous barriers. In spite of the fact that it is described as “voluntary,” it stretches the definition of that term by putting Creel in the position of bartering her fertility for leniency in her sentencing.
Last year, this practice gained national attention when it was applied to prisoners. In exchange for undergoing a sterilization procedure, prisoners were given shorter sentences. However, as the ACLU pointed out at the time, this program is deceptive and even unconstitutional.
“Offering a so-called ‘choice’ between jail time and coerced contraception or sterilization is unconstitutional,” Tennessee ACLU head Hedy Weinberg wrote in a statement. “Such a choice violates the fundamental constitutional right to reproductive autonomy and bodily integrity by interfering with the intimate decision of whether and when to have a child, imposing an intrusive medical procedure on individuals who are not in a position to reject it.”
Now, it appears, that the program has evolved from the prison and moved into the court.'
Read more: Disturbing Precedent: Mother Sterilized As Court Hands Down Order Recommending It
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