Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Legal Studies

Second Department

Latin American Studies

Reader 1

Jennifer Groscup

Reader 2

Martin Vega

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Rights Information

© 2024 Lizabeth Betances


This paper aims to analyze the legal context and cultural significance of Madrigal v. Quilligan, a class action civil rights lawsuit brought to the California Federal Court denouncing the nonconsensual sterilization of Mexican-American women as a racist and xenophobic practice. The court denied that any harm had been done or intended to these women and ruled in favor of the hospital. This paper will establish that since its creation this country has upheld a white supremacist agenda– an agenda that has employed forced sterilization as a tool of eugenics. The Madrigal v. Quilligan case is no anomaly: it is representative of larger white supremacist and eugenics history in the United States. The paper will also situate this case in the context of a larger movement for reproductive rights and argue that a race-sensitive approach must be prioritized for there to be any hope of true reproductive justice.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.