Nashville prosecutors have made sterilization of women part of plea negotiations at least four times in the past five years, and the district attorney has banned his staff from using the invasive surgery as a bargaining chip after the latest case.

The most recent case, first reported by The Tennessean, involved a mentally ill woman who had been charged with neglect after her 5-day-old baby mysteriously died.

Her defense attorney says the prosecutor assigned to the case wouldn't go forward with a plea deal to keep the woman out of prison unless she underwent surgery to prevent her from having more children.

Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk, who was sworn into office in September, says he had not heard of his prosecutors doing it until the attorney complained.