On September 14, a whistleblower complaint filed by several legal advocacy groups documented severe medical abuses against immigrant people at Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia, a facility that houses people held by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE).
In addition to immense neglect regarding COVID-19 testing, safety, and protocols, a staggering number of hysterectomies have been performed at Irwin. According to the whistleblower, nurse Dawn Wooten, Irwin repeatedly used a particular gynecologist “who almost always opted to remove all or part of the uterus of his female detainee patients,” calling him “the uterus collector.”
According to interviews with Project South, a Georgia nonprofit and one of the groups that filed the complaint, multiple people reported that they didn’t understand why they were subjected to the hysterectomies, with some nurses obtaining patients’ consent by “googling Spanish.” One detainee said that Irwin was like “an experimental concentration camp…like they’re experimenting with our bodies.”
This reproductive violence and coercion is gendered white supremacy. The details of the abuses at Irwin are horrific, but they are not new. The United States is the birthplace of the eugenics movement and has a long history of forced sterilization and non-consensual medical experimentation, particularly of Black, brown, Indigenous, incarcerated, and disabled people.
The U.S. government is continuing its genocide against people it deems undesirable while expanding the deportation machine—for example, Cameroonian detainee Pauline Binam shared her own experience of forced sterilization while at Irwin and was almostdeported.
This cannot happen to anyone else at Irwin or any other detention center, jail, or prison ever again. This horrific mistreatment did not begin with the doctor at Irwin and it will not end with him. He is one person in a system that was designed to uphold white supremacy at any and all costs—and it is likely that similar reproductive violence is happening in other prisons and detention centers across the country. We must put an end to these abuses and demand a congressional investigation into the whistleblower complaint.
Sign and send the petition to your U.S. representative: Demand an investigation into the whistleblower complaint of mass hysterectomies at Irwin County Detention Center.