SACRAMENTO (KCBS) — The health care department for California’s prison system is under fire, after reports that pregnant inmates were coerced into having sterilization surgery. A group of state legislators is now demanding answers from the federal receiver who oversees the department.

Lawmakers are concerned that consent for tubal ligation surgeries performed on almost 150 female inmates between 2006 and 2010 was not obtained properly.

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“The whole question of whether a prisoner can consent without any duress I think is the question before us,” said State Senator Mark Leno of San Francisco.

Leno is part of a group of legislators calling on federal receiver Clark Kelso to explain why these procedures were performed and if the practice has stopped.

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Joyce Hayhoe with California Correctional Health Care Services said her department has met with many of the lawmakers to address their concerns.

“We went over all of the protocols that we have put in place since 2010 to ensure that no inappropriate procedures are performed,” she said.

Hayhoe added that none of the tubal ligations that were performed prior to 2010 were done so without consent.

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