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Karen Stamm collection of Committee for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse (CARASA) records

 Collection
Identifier: SSC-MS-00811

Abstract

Administrative and program files of the Committee to End Sterilization Abuse (CESA) and, its successor, the Committee for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse (CARASA). CESA was an organization whose mission s to reduce sterilization violations against women of color in poverty. It was later superseded by the CARASA, which widened the focus to include abortion rights and protections.

Dates of Materials

  • 1976 - 2010

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

To the extent that she owns copyright, Stamm has assigned the copyright in her works to Smith College; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Stamm, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.

Biographical / Historical

Karen Stamm participated in several women's reproductive rights campaigns and organizations during the 1970s and 1980s, including the National Women's Health Network (NWHN), the Reproductive Rights National Network (R2N2), the Committee to End Sterilization Abuse (CESA), and its successor, the Committee for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse (CARASA). She received her law degree from Rutgers Law School in 1985 and practiced landlord and tenant law and estate planning.

Through NWHN, R2N2, CESA, CARASA, and other organizations, Stamm advocated for reproductive rights and affordable healthcare for all women, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. She worked to end sterilization abuse as population control and for greater transparency of sterilization practices among hospitals and municipal healthcare agencies.

[From the Guide to the Karen Stamm Papers at the Tamiment Library & Wagner Labor Archives]

Biographical / Historical

The Committee to End Sterilization Abuse (CESA) was an organization whose mission was to reduce sterilization violations against women of color in poverty. It was later superseded by the Committee for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse (CARASA).

The Committee to End Sterilization Abuse (CESA) was established in the winter of 1974 in New York City, and included many prominent reproductive rights activists, among whom Helen Rodriguez-Trias. CESA was founded in response to several cases where young women of color incarcerated by the New York City Police were misled or coerced into having a sterilization procedure. In particular, there was a case in 1974 of a young woman who, during counseling for an abortion, was offered sterilization as the best prevention of future unwanted pregnancies. Uninformed and misled, the young woman signed the papers and later regretted the procedure. In response to the treatment of this young woman and the many other disadvantaged women who had been coerced into giving up their reproductive rights, Rodriguez-Trias and a handful of other New Yorkers formed CESA. In New York City, after a 9 month battle, CESA was successful in getting guidelines adopted by municipal hospitals, including a 30 day waiting period, a detailed consent form, and counseling in the women's own language.

The Committee for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse (CARASA) was formed in 1977, widening the focus of CESA to include abortion rights. CARASA rejected the single issue of abortion defended by the National Organization for Women (NOW), the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) and Planned Parenthood. CARASA wanted to include in the debate over reproductive freedom “a wide range of other issues ranging from women’s health to sexuality to class and race.” It also defined reproductive freedom as “the freedom to have, as well as not have children”. Thus, CARASA strongly defended the establishment of the guidelines the Health, Education, and Welfare adopted in 1978. But NOW and NARAL refused to support them, arguing that the extension of the waiting period and the establishment of a minimum age of 21 would deny women their right to reproductive choice. NOW’s executive board even adopted a formal statement against the proposed regulations in the summer of 1978.

[From the Sterilization in the United States: The Dark Side of Contraception by Sandrine Piorkowski Bocquillon, the Sterlization Abuse: A Task for the Women's Movement by The Chicago Committee to End Sterilization Abuse, and the History of Forced Sterilization and Current U.S. Abuses by Kathryn Krase.]

Extent

0.5 linear feet (1 box)

Language of Materials

English

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Karen Stamm, 2020.

Appraisal

In 2020, during accessioning, news clippings and collected publications were removed from the collection.

Related Materials

There are additional CARASA News newsletters in the Periodical collection.

Processing Information

In 2020, while accessioning, Madison White organized materials into folder. Materials had arrived at the archive largely as loose pages.

Source

Creator

Title
Finding Aid to the Karen Stamm collection of Committee for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse (CARASA) records
Status
Minimum Finding Aid (Completed)
Author
Madison White
Date
2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2020-08-11: Created new collection

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Contact:
Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063