Relf Sisters Sue for Involuntary Sterilization

Moments In Civil Rights History

On June 27th, 1973, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of 14-year old Minnie Lee Relf and her 12-year old sister, Mary Alice. The girls were sterilized without their knowledge or consent. Workers at a federally funded family planning agency deceived their illiterate mother into believing that she was consenting to birth control shots. The lawsuit brought attention to the issue and increased regulation.