ICE Is Removing Women's Reproductive Organs w/o Their Consent - Here's What You Can Do About It
Pictured, Silvia Citlali Iriarte, from the SFChronicle's "Deportation chosen over Richmond jail; complaints under investigation"
Preventing births of a particular group of people is gross human rights violation. The United Nations considers it an act of genocide.
An ICE nurse has come forward to report horrific conditions at a Georgia detention center where an alarmingly high number of women have had their reproductive organs fully or partially removed without their knowledge or consent.
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"Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy – just about everybody," says nurse Dawn Wooten of the off-site doctor who performed these procedures at the Irwin County Detention Center. "Everybody's uterus can't be that bad."
We don't have a lot of heroes in this country right now, but brave whistleblowers like Dawn Wooten willing to risk everything to expose the inhumanity (and often outright sadism) of immigration detention are more than we deserve rn pic.twitter.com/5lTroaV5w2— Matt Cameron (@matt_cam) September 15, 2020
According to Wooten, who has been practicing for ten years, Spanish-speaking women who have gone to see the doctor about a menstrual concern, such as a heavy period (which can be caused by stress), have come away with their uterus fully or paritally removed, not understanding what had happened or why.
In one case, a woman who wasn't completely anesthetized during surgery and overheard the doctor say he had removed the wrong ovary, leaving her unable to have children.
"it felt like they were trying to mess with my body" pic.twitter.com/WjgNhPMDYe— Matt Cameron (@matt_cam) September 15, 2020
Despite having been reprimanded and even demoted for speaking up about these procedures and the hazardous conditions women in the for-profit detention center are facing, Wooten has filed an official complaint, accusing the center of negligence.
The complaint from the named whistleblower in the ICE hysterectomy story that has been going around is worth reading in full, esp. the relevant details starting at p. 18.https://t.co/XwQoFwsGmM pic.twitter.com/v2Ei2X19JZ— Matt Cameron (@matt_cam) September 15, 2020
"When I met all these women who had had surgeries, I thought this was like an experimental concentration camp. It was like they’re experimenting with our bodies," one detainee said, according to the complaint.
Detainees who complained about what was happening were put into solitary confinement.
Four other members of the detention center's medical staff have corroborated Wooten's complaint, but asked not to be named for fear of retaliation.
This bombshell comes on the heels of reports that women at ICE detention centers are being systematically sexually assaulted.
A recent suit against a Houston detention center alleges that women were bound and put into an isolated room, where ICE guards raped and beat them before deporting them to Mexico. One woman ended up pregnant from the ordeal.
It all seems too gruesome to be true, but the United States actually has a history of forced sterilization.
In the early 1900s, California began mandating forced sterilization of people deemed "mentally inferior" and "unfit to propagate." By the 1970s, the United States had sterilized tens of thousands of people—mostly poor women, African Americans, Native Americans, Puerto Ricans and immigrants. Women and men of Mexican descent were disproportionately sterilized.
The U.S.' treatment of "undesirables" directly inspired the Nazi regime.
Context: this is and should be instantly terrifying. Forced sterilizations have a long and shameful history, both in this country and in others. One notable example is Nazi Germany. It’s eugenics, and it’s horrifying beyond description.— Amy Dallen (@enthusiamy) September 14, 2020
This is happening, right now, in Georgia. https://t.co/W0So20YKrF
The United Nations considers "imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group" an act of genocide, a crime under international law. According to Azadeh Shahshahani, a human rights attorney at Project South, the organization which filed the complaint, that is what is happening here.
And not just at the Irwin Detention Center; similar complaints have been filed at the Stewart Detention Center, and it is likely that this is happening in other centers as well.
"These are gross human rights violations, and the US government should be held accountable."
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Text "SIGN AHZJLZ" to 50409 or send "SIGN AHZJLZ" as a direct message to @resistbot on Twitter.
EMAIL your Congressperson by visiting Democracy.io. Put this in the text box:
"The forced sterilization of immigrant women and for-profit ICE detention centers is a gross human rights violation. Shut down the Irwin County and Stewart Detention Centers and free the women who are being detained. Identify the doctors who have been performing these procedures and prosecute them.
This is gruesome and unacceptable. ICE must be investigated and abolished."
Even better, CALL your representative by visiting CommonCause.org.
Scroll down to find your reps. You can follow this script if you don't know what to say.
"Women are being forcibly sterilized at for-profit detention centers. This needs to stop immediately.
This is a human rights violation and an act of genocide.
The Irwin County and Stewart Detention Centers need to be shut down immediately and the doctors need to be prosecuted.
ICE needs to be investigated and abolished."
And call the Georgia Medical Board to demand that they identify the doctor committing these crimes and revoke his license.
PLEASE call the Georgia Composite Medical Board and demand that they identify the physician called the "uterus collector...Posted by Close the Camps on Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Signing a petition will never help as much as making a call.