Mass Forced Hysterectomies On Migrant Detainees Exposed


Sep. 15 2020, Published 11:36 a.m. ET

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Multiple sources have confirmed the reporting of mass, forced hysterectomies being performed illegally on migrant detainees.

Whistleblower and ICE nurse Dawn Wooten filed the complaint via Project South. The complaint was sent to the Department of Homeland Security and its inspector general. Accusations were made against dangerous medical practices at a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility. Accusations include illegal medical procedures being performed on detainees, including an unusual number of hysterectomies. These hysterectomies have been reported as nonconsensual

According to Law and Crime, the facility is operated by LaSalle Corrections, a private prison company. Business Insider reports that one detained immigrant said she spoke with five women who were at the facility from October to December of last year, all of whom had an unwanted hysterectomy procedure.

Wooten says in her report, “I’ve had several inmates tell me that they’ve been to see the doctor and they’ve had hysterectomies and they don’t know why they went or why they’re going.”

Wooten notes how the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) consistently uses one out-of-facility doctor. This doctor is responsible for the hysterectomy operations. He also accidentally removed the wrong ovary in one patient, then ultimately removed both ovaries.

“He’s the uterus collector.”

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Wooten is among multiple people described in the complaint as saying that some of the women did not know that the procedure was being performed on them or was not told exactly what the procedure entailed.

The complaint was filed on the behalf of Wooten. The advocacy groups also report details of other malpractices at the facility, including lack of COVID-19 testing for symptomatic patients. The consequential lack of COVID-19 testing has led to a lack of reporting COVID cases.

“When I started talking about unfairness and injustice…I was written up”  Wooten said. “It’s dog-eat-dog in there, at the expense of the detainees.”

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Once reprimanded and demoted by ICDC after speaking up about the poor practices at the detention center, Wooten publicly came forward with her complaint and accusation of gross human rights violations.

Mass forced hysterectomies are the latest allegation of human rights abuses at ICE controlled migrant detention centers. The establishment of these detention centers has spurred billion-dollar growth within the private detention industry, inclusive of its healthcare providers.

America has a long history of performing mass forced hysterectomies on women of color, including on Asian American women, and Latinx American women. However, Black women in the South were most infamously targeted for mass sterilization. This included procedures so common, they have known colloquially within medical teaching hospitals as Mississippi appendectomies. Coerced sterilization and eugenics have also been performed on Americans that were deemed poor, mentally ill, physically disabled, or criminals.

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By: Devi Jags

Devi Jags is an Entrepreneur, Writer, and Activist. Her work can be seen through her endeavors such as Sambar Kitchen, The Sparkle Bracelet, and much more. She will be pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Sarah Lawrence College in the fall of 2020. To join her journey, follow her work @devijags or visit her website.

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