No Más Bebés
February 1, 10 pm

No Más Bebés

  • BY Renee Tajima-Peña | IN Civil Rights
    Premiered February 1, 2016

About the Film

No Más Bebés tells the story of a little-known but landmark event in reproductive justice, when a small group of Mexican immigrant women sued county doctors, the state, and the U.S. government after they were sterilized while giving birth at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center during the late 1960s and early 1970s. MORE

Marginalized and fearful, many of these mothers spoke no English, and charged that they had been coerced into tubal ligation — having their tubes tied — by doctors during the late stages of labor. Often the procedure was performed after asking the mothers under duress.

The mothers’ cause was eventually taken up by a young Chicana lawyer armed with hospital records secretly gathered by a whistle-blowing doctor. In their landmark 1975 civil rights lawsuit, Madrigal v. Quilligan, they argued that a woman’s right to bear a child is guaranteed under the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.

The filmmakers spent five years tracking down sterilized mothers and witnesses. Most were reluctant at first to come forward, but ultimately agreed to tell their story. Set against a debate over the impact of Latino immigration and overpopulation, and the birth of a movement for Chicana rights and reproductive choice, No Más Bebés revisits a powerful story that still resonates today.


The Filmmakers

Renee Tajima-Peña (Producer/Director) is an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker whose directing credits include Calavera Highway (PBS), “The Mexico Story” of The New Americans series (PBS), My Journey Home (PBS), Labor Women (PBS), Skate Manzanar (performance and installation), My America...or Honk if You Love Buddha (PBS), The Last Beat Movie (Sundance Channel), The Best Hotel on Skid Row (HBO), and Who Killed Vincent Chin? (PBS), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Her films have premiered at Sundance, Cannes, San Francisco, New Directors/New Films, Toronto, the Whitney Biennial and festivals around the world. Among her honors are a USA Broad Fellowship, a Peabody Award, a DuPont-Columbia Award, an Alpert Award in the Arts, an IDA Achievement Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.  

Virginia Espino (Producer) conducted original research on the Madrigal case that formed the basis for No Más Bebés. Her work was published in Las Obreras: Chicana Politics of Work and Family, edited by Vicki L. Ruiz, and Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia. She is the Program Coordinator for Latina/o History at the UCLA Center for Oral History Research where she has interviewed the leading figures in contemporary Mexican American history. Espino received her PhD in History from Arizona State University. LESS

Film Credits

Director/Producer
Renee Tajima-Peña

Producer
Virginia Espino

Editors
Johanna Demetrakas
Aldo Velasco

Associate Producers
Kate Trumbull-LaValle
Gena Hamamoto

Director of Photography
Claudio Rocha

Composer
Bronwen Jones

Location Sound
Jesse Dwyer
Jon Oh
Alejo Ramos-Ariensen
Joshua Wilkinson

Assistant Editors
Kate Trumbull-LaValle
Gena Hamamoto

Online Editor and Visual Effects
Bill Bryn Russell

Sound Editor and Re-recording Mixer
Joe Milner

Title Design and Graphics
Jorge Gomez
Bill Bryn Russell

Licensing and Archive Consultant
Evangeline Griego

Story Consultants
Kate Amend
Spencer Nakasako
Sky Sitney

Scholarly Consultants
Rosalinda Fregoso
Elena Gutiérrez
Vicki L. Ruiz

Research
Virginia Espino

Archival Research
Laurie Coyle
Alison Sotomayor
Kate Trumbull-LaValle

Translation
Virginia Espino
Angel Herrera
Armando Peña

Cinematographers
Dana Kupper
Guy Mossman

Additional Cinematography
Pablo Bryant
Michael Chin
Lincoln Else
Chad Heeter
Beau Lambert
Herman Lew

Assistant Camera
Kevin Castro
Kate Trumbull LaValle

Additional Sound
Sara Chin
Michael Cottrell
José Inerzia
Judith E. Karp
J.T. Takagi
Andre Rivera
Douglas Robertson

Additional Music
Quetzal Flores
William A. Garcia
Jimmy LaValle

Additional Research
Karin Mak
Anayansi Prado
Angelica Garza
Clara Solis

Production Assistance
Katie Cassidy Buco
Angel Herrera
Grace Kaskie
Meaghen Keyser
Zaida Mejia Rodriguez

Legal
Christopher Perez

Archival Footage and Stills
The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley
Benson Latin American Collection, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin
Bilingual Educational Services
Chicago Women's Graphics Collective, courtesy of the Center for the Study of Political Graphics
The Cinema Guild
The Curtis Family
Moctesuma Esparza
Luis Garza
La Opinión
LAC+USC
Lincoln Cushing/ Docs Populi
Gerardo Lopez
Los Angeles Times
Sylvia Morales
Marilyn Mulford
Ricardo F. Muñoz
Miguel Pendas
Paradigm Productions
Yolanda Garcia Provost
National Archives
Alva Nelms
NBC Universal Archives
Pathfinder Press
Rachael Romero
Raul Ruiz
Hector Tobar
Jesus Trevino
Danny Villanueva
Rosemary Quesada Weiner
UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center
UCLA Library Special Collections
University of California, Santa Barbara Library

Special Thanks
Flash Cuts
Gaea Foundation
Mark Jonathan Harris
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
Lourdes Portillo
Ruby Rich
UCLA Institute of American Culture
University of California Institute for Research in the Arts

Fiscal Sponsor
Visual Communications Inc.

Executive Producer for LPB
Sandra Pedlow

Executive Producer for ITVS
Sally Jo Fifer

Funding Provided by
CalHumanities
The United States Artists’ Broad Fellowship
University of California: Santa Cruz Committee on Research
Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund
Chicken & Egg Pictures
UC MEXUS
UC Center for New Racial Studies
Chicano Latino Research Center

No Más Bebés is a Co-Production of Renee Tajima-Peña and Virginia Espino, and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), in association with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB).
This program was produced by Renee Tajima-Peña and Virginia Espino d/b/a Moon Canyon Films, who are solely responsible for its content.
© 2015. Renee Tajima-Peña and Virginia Espino d/b/a Moon Canyon Films. All rights reserved.

Given today’s contentious debate over immigration could history be repeated for vulnerable groups like the Mexican immigrant mothers in this film? How far should busy medical professionals go to ensure their patients fully understand the treatment they’re given? How has the discussion of women’s reproductive freedom moved from the language of “choice” during the Roe v. Wade era, to the framework of “reproductive justice”?
Please review our comment guidelines.
Given today’s contentious debate over immigration could history be repeated for vulnerable groups like the Mexican immigrant mothers in this film? How far should busy medical professionals go to ensure their patients fully understand the treatment they’re given? How has the discussion of women’s reproductive freedom moved from the language of “choice” during the Roe v. Wade era, to the framework of “reproductive justice”?