An oklahoma woman who pleaded guilty to attempting to shop using a counterfeit check and theft charges at a Walmart store in 2014, received a reduced sentence on Thursday (Feb. 8), after consenting to a sterilization procedure. Fox News reported.

When she appeared in June of last year before US District Judge Stephen Friot, 34-year-old Summer Thyne Creel, who is also a mother of seven children, received a suggestion from the Judge. If she underwent sterilization to prevent her from having more children, she would receive a reduced sentence in return.

Creel underwent the procedure, and Judge Friot sentenced her to a year in Federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. The maximum penalty for the charges she faced, was up to 10 years in prison.

Habitual drug use

Creel, who tested positive for crystal meth and crack cocaine in December, also has a long rap sheet. Judge Friot observed that according to the dates of birth of her seven children, Creel most probably carried the pregnancies to term while under the influence of drugs and narcotics.

Some time back, Creel relinquished her parental rights to six of her seven children. After her last court appearance in June, according to her lawyer, she volunteered to undergo the sterilization procedure in November.

As a result of taking up the Judge's suggestion, Creel will now serve much less time, and will not be able to have any more children in future. Creel was apologetic and expressed remorse for her crimes and drug addiction.

Advocacy groups up in arms

Creel's case and sentencing sparked outrage and condemnation from women's rights groups.

Some of whom termed it as a case of using coercive reproductive policies and practices.

According to Centre for Advancing Innovative Policy managing partner Eesha Pandit, the circumstances, and conditions that led to Creel's reduced sentence were manipulative and also set a dangerous precedent.

Pandit added the threat of a harsher sentence that was floated, was meant to coerce Creel to consent to the sterilization procedure.

Lynn Paltrow, the founder of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, talking to the Washington Post, was horrified when she read the ruling.

Paltrow observed that it was highly unlikely that Judge Friot had ever asked a man the number of children he had sired, and pegged a ruling on the response. In her opinion, Creel's reduced sentence owing to her seven children was discriminatory and infringed on the reproductive rights of the accused.

In his ruling, Judge Friot also ordered Creel to pay up to $15,200 in restitution.