NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Defense attorneys say sterilization was part of plea negotiations in at least four cases.
The most recent case involved Jasmine Randers, a woman with a 20-year history of mental illness who had a baby who died of mysterious causes. The woman wound up in Nashville after fleeing court supervision for her mental illness in her home state of Minnesota. At the time, she had a 10-year-old child who was in her mother's custody. After waking up in a hotel and finding the baby unresponsive, the woman waited two hours and then took a taxi to a local hospital, where the child was pronounced dead. The baby's cause of death could not be determined.
One case involved Latara Darden, who gave birth to twins who both tested positive for drugs. The mother was charged with aggravated assault and a prosecutor requested that she undergo sterilization, Nashville defense attorney Carrie Searcy said. The mother did not agree because she had already undergone the procedure.
Another case Searcy handled involved a mother whose baby tested positive for drugs. The woman did not do agree to the request for sterilization because she had already had her tubes tied, Searcy said.
The fourth case, handled by Mary-Kathryn Harcombe, also involved a woman who gave birth to a baby who tested positive for drugs. Sterilization came up in plea negotiations, Harcombe said, but the mother refused and they were able to reach a deal that didn't involve the surgery.