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Panel Discussion

The Audacity of Black Wombs

Saturday Feb. 12

In 1961, Fannie Lou Hamer underwent surgery for a uterine tumor, and the white doctor operating on her removed her entire uterus without her consent. Forced hysterectomies on Black women is a tragically consistent element of U.S. history. The medical field has a history of exploiting Black women’s bodies in the name of unethical research and racist beliefs. And forced sterilization is not a thing of the past. There have been tens of thousands of recorded cases in the 20th century, and 1,400 recorded cases in California prisons between 1997-2010. Mrs. Hamer’s experience was one of her motivating factors in getting involved in the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi, where non-consensual hysterectomies were called “Mississippi appendectomies” due to their prevalence. Mrs. Hamer once claimed that 60% of Black women who went to the hospital experienced forced sterilization.  

This panel discussion will about the history and present-day atrocities around the experimentation and sterilization of Black women's wombs, featuring Black femme leaders in health, wellness, art, and activism. They will share their knowledge, resilience, and brilliance in this truthful conversation about the past and present.