“As a member of the pilot Social Justice Pathway (SJP) class, I am always looking for ways to inform my peers about current social issues and their deep-rooted history in our country and medicine as a whole,” says first-year Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Medicine student Maya Schnall.
She recently collaborated with the University’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to host a virtual screening of the documentary film No Más Bebés. Schnall reflects here on her experience in the Social Justice Pathway and the screening, held Oct. 21.
The purpose of the SJP is to supplement our medical education, providing opportunities to participate in seminars discussing unequal and inadequate access to primary care. Furthermore, the pathway offers students a chance to engage with faculty mentors, conduct research rooted in social issues, and work with underserved populations.
With this in mind, on Wednesday, Oct. 21, in collaboration with Jacqueline Fausnight, associate director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, I hosted a virtual screening of the film, No Más Bebés. This documentary details the coerced sterilization of Chicana women at a public hospital in Los Angeles starting in the 1960s and the landmark case Madrigal v Quilligan that was born from this injustice. It expands on the larger issue of coerced and forced sterilization throughout the country, from the “Mississippi Appendectomy” to court rulings requiring lower income women to have tubal ligations if they were deemed “feebleminded.”
Following the film, attendees engaged in a deep discussion regarding the role that physicians play in permitting and committing these atrocities, relating the events of the film to current whistleblower reports from ICE Detention Centers in the U.S. Conversations arose about modern-wave feminism and the nuanced meaning of reproductive justice. We concluded the event by noting the importance of intersectionality in social movements, law and medicine.
Recognizing the essential nature of these learning opportunities and open forums for discussion, we will be holding a similar event in the spring, featuring a different film and topic.