In the new film Para Rosa, aka “For Rosa,” we learn about another chapter in Latinx history that textbooks seem to leave out – the Madrigal Ten.
The Madrigal Ten was a group of 10 Chicanas who were sterilized without consent in the early 1970’s while giving birth at Los Angeles County USC Medical. The 10 plaintiffs filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court claiming that the Los Angeles County USC Medical Center was systematically sterilizing Spanish-speaking mothers who delivered their babies via cesarean section. The lawsuit was directed against some of most the powerful institutions in the state, including the Department of Health and the University of Southern California.
The events in the trial even had a famous setting: For decades, Los Angeles County hospital served as an exterior shot for the soap opera “General Hospital.” And the claims were horrific — that the hospital had made a practice of misleading women about the sterilization and coercing them into signing off on documents by exploiting their language and visa issues.
Para Rosa, directed and written by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone, stars Melinna Bobadilla, and tells the story of those brave Latina plaintiffs. We caught up with Melinna below to learn more about the film and the survivors who inspired it.