“The Clan of One-Breasted Women”
Terry Tempest Williams, the author of the “The Clan of One-Breasted Women”, criticizes the United States’ government for being deceitful about the causes and effects nuclear testing has on humans. Williams is a Mormon belonging to a clan of one-breasted women. Her mother, grandmother, and six aunts suffered from mastectomies. Seven are dead and only two survived due to the completion of chemotherapy and radiation.
For years as long as she could remember, Williams had a dream about seeing a bright light in the night at the desert. When talking to her dad one day, she was told that she really saw the light and it wasn’t a dream. The light was in fact the result of an atomic testing in Nevada on September 7, 1957.
It was at this point that Williams had realized why so many of her family members and people living in Utah, were diagnosed with cancer. Many women filed law suites and protested, trying to stop nuclear testing; but every attempt was unsuccessful and failed. When confronted about the situation, the United States’ government assured the American public that nuclear testing was not the cause of cancer in this region of the country.
One of the law suits filed was on August 30, 1979, Irene Allen v. The United States of America. Irene claimed that her first husband had watched the nuclear tests from the roof of his high school and died of leukemia and her second husband died of pancreatic cancer. The federal court had determined that nuclear tests had been the cause of cancer in this case. In April 1987 the verdict was overturned. Williams states, “It was the first time a federal court had determined that nuclear tests had been the cause of cancers… it was considered a landmark ruling. It was not to remain so for long. In April 1987, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Jenkins’s ruling on the ground that the United States was protected fro...