The Coercive Sterilization of Native American Women by the Indian Health Services (1970-1974)


  • Tate Luker


This article examines the coercive sterilization of Native American women by the Indian Health Service (IHS) in the United States between 1970 and 1974. It analyzes the sterilizations in the context of the wider availability of funding and legal acceptance for birth control and the Native American civil rights movement of the 1970s. The article discusses the methods and motivations of the IHS physicians who carried out the sterilization procedures and the effects that the sterilizations had on the victims and their communities. Additionally, this article examines a wider trend of unethical medical practice in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Furthermore, the article endeavors to demonstrate that medical professionals can hold and act on harmful social and political beliefs.