Has ICE gotten out of control? Well, more out of control…
That’s what several legal advocacy groups say after filing a whistleblower complaint on behalf of a nurse at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center, alleging an unnecessarily high rate of hysterectomies were being performed on immigrant women there.
The complaint was filed by advocacy groups Project South, Georgia Detention Watch, Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, and South Georgia Immigrant Support Network, who reported “jarring medical neglect” going on within the ICE processing facility, including a refusal to test detainees for COVID-19 and an alarming number of sterilization surgeries.
According to the filing, multiple women came forward to Project South with claims about what they perceived to be an exorbitant rate at which women in Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Georgia were forced to undergo hysterectomies — an operation in which all or part of the uterus is removed.
Moreover, many of the immigrant women who were subjected to the surgery were said to be “confused” when asked to explain why they had the procedure, with one detainee comparing their treatment to concentration camp prisoners. The complaint stated:
“Recently, a detained immigrant told Project South that she talked to five different women detained at ICDC between October and December 2019 who had a hysterectomy done. When she talked to them about the surgery, the women ‘reacted confused when explaining why they had one done.’ The woman told Project South that it was as though the women were ‘trying to tell themselves it’s going to be OK.’”
The detainee who witnessed all this did understand though. She said:
“‘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.’”
Unfortunately, this really is sounding like a concentration camp — not hyperbole. Mass sterilization is something the Nazi doctors did to women in those camps, and it was found to be a war crime by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. The International Criminal Court recognizes forced sterilization as a crime against humanity — and when it’s done targeting a specific race, as it seems to be at our border right now? Well, that’s genocide.
Yes. It’s that serious.
The complaint was filed on behalf of Nurse Dawn Wooten, who was employed at the ICDC, which is operated by LaSalle Corrections, a private prison company. The whistleblower claimed that ICDC consistently used a particular external gynecologist who almost always opted to perform hysterectomies on his female detainee patients.
“Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy — just about everybody… everybody’s uterus cannot be that bad. We’ve questioned among ourselves like goodness he’s taking everybody’s stuff out… That’s his specialty, he’s the uterus collector. I know that’s ugly… is he collecting these things or something… Everybody he sees, he’s taking all their uteruses out or he’s taken their tubes out. What in the world.”
The nurse also confirmed that many of the detainees told her they didn’t understand why they were being forced to have the surgery, noting that some of the nurses who didn’t speak Spanish obtained consent from detainees “by simply googling Spanish.”
Staff was just as inexperienced in the surgery room, the complaint alleged. One detainee who was not properly anesthetized during the procedure had reportedly heard the aforementioned doctor tell the nurse he had accidentally removed the wrong ovary, causing her to lose all reproductive ability.
Meanwhile, another detained woman who was scheduled for the procedure was given at least three completely different answers when she questioned why it was necessary. The complaint detailed:
“She was originally told by the doctor that she had an ovarian cyst and was going to have a small twenty-minute procedure done drilling three small holes in her stomach to drain the cyst. The officer who was transporting her to the hospital told her that she was receiving a hysterectomy to have her womb removed. When the hospital refused to operate on her because her COVID-19 test came back positive for antibodies, she was transferred back to ICDC where the ICDC nurse said that the procedure she was going to have done entailed dilating her vagina and scraping tissue off.”
Another nurse allegedly told the detainee that the procedure was to alleviate her heavy menstrual bleeding — despite the woman never having experienced heavy menstrual bleeding. When she explained that, the nurse “responded by getting angry and agitated and began yelling at her.”
ICE responded to the story later Monday, insisting that ICDC has been inspected multiple times and found to be in compliance with Performance Based National Detention Standards. The agency said it takes “all allegations seriously” and defers to the DHS Office of Inspector General, noting that, “in general, anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics” should be treated with skepticism.
That’s a strange response, seeing as these allegations have been made by a named whistleblower — Nurse Wooten. But then again, that’s always the way with Donald Trump‘s administration, isn’t it? Deny it, attack the source, attack the media itself… then eventually yield to the evidence and say so what?
Need we remind that the policy to detain refugees — innocent people just looking for a home in the US (the brainchild of Trump adviser Stephen Miller (above, inset)) has become normalized over the course of a couple years. Even after America saw the photos of children being separated from their parents and put in cages. People were outraged, but then… nothing changed. Ugh. What are we becoming??
Read the agency’s full statement (below):
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not comment on matters presented to the Office of the Inspector General, which provides independent oversight and accountability within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ICE takes all allegations seriously and defers to the OIG regarding any potential investigation and/or results. That said, in general, anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics, should be treated with the appropriate skepticism they deserve.”
What do U think about this, Perezcious readers??
This is all too disturbing to continue to be swept under the rug… but will it make a dent with US voters??
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