SACRAMENTO, July 7 (UPI) -- The Center for Investigative Reporting said Sunday doctors sterilized nearly 150 female inmates between 2006 and 2010 in California without state approvals.
The doctors, who were under contract the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, preformed tubal ligations on 148 women in violation of prison rules during those five years, the center reported.
The state paid the doctors a total of $147,460 to perform the procedure from 1997 to 2010, a database shows.
The women were signed up for the surgery while they were pregnant, and former prison inmates and advocates said that medical staff coerced the women into agreeing to the procedure.
Since 1994, using state funds for the procedure has required approval from top medical officials on a case-by-case basis.
No tubal ligation requests have come before the health care committee responsible for the approvals, Dr. Ricki Barnett, who tracks medical services and costs for the California Prison Health Care Receivership Corp.
Barnett said she researched the procedures and met with the officials at women's prisons and contracted health workers.
The doctors and prison officials were unaware of the 1994 ban, she said.
"Everybody was operating on the fact that this was a perfectly reasonable thing to do," she said.