ICE is Allegedly Giving Immigrant Women Forced Sterilizations

Dawn+Wooten%2C+former+nurse+at+Irwin+County+Detention+Center%2C+speaking+at+the+protest+in+Atlanta%2C+Georgia+on+the+conditions+in+the+immigration+jail%2C+Sept.+15%2C+2020.++

AP Photo/Jeff Amy

Dawn Wooten, former nurse at Irwin County Detention Center, speaking at the protest in Atlanta, Georgia on the conditions in the immigration jail, Sept. 15, 2020.

Nancy Young

A whistle blower claimed a doctor they called “The uterus collector,” was performing nonconsensual sterilizations of women in Immigration Enforcement Custody (ICE) and U.S Customs. This whistle blower was Dawn Wooten, former nurse who worked at Irwin County Detention Center in South Georgia 

Human rights organizations filed complaints against The Irwin County Detention Center on Sept. 14, 2020 based on Wooten’s claims. The doctor that allegedly performed these hysterectomies is Dr. Mahendra Amin, who the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) claims was never a certified OB-GYN. The hospital that is supposedly responsible for these sterilizations is Irwin County Hospital. Heath Clark, the attorney for ERH Healthcare, oversees the hospital and confirmed that Amin preformed the only two, on record, hysterectomies.  

Wooten said in her complaint,

We’ve questioned among ourselves like, goodness he’s taking everybody’s stuff out…That’s his specialty, he’s the uterus collector.”

— Dawn Wooten

  

Wooten filed a 27-page complaint against the detention center where she alleged all these claims. This attracted lawmakers, human rights organizations, and news groups.  

Several attorneys who represent different women have come forward to share their stories, one of them being 35-year-old Pauline Binam’s. At the time she was 29 years old and had spent nearly two years in immigration detention, when she asked for a doctor due to her period was abnormal. She agreed to get a dilation and curettage procedure, but when she awoke she was told she had gotten one of her fallopian tubes removed, something she didn’t agree to. The doctor that performed the procedure was Amin.  

Her immigration attorney Vân Huynh stated, “When she first learned about it, the way that she described it to me is that she was sitting in this wheelchair post operation and the doctor’s telling her that she may not be able to conceive children in the future. She was sobbing in this wheelchair, not understanding why this was happening.” 

House speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “If true, the appalling conditions described in the whistleblower complaint – including allegations of mass hysterectomies being performed on vulnerable immigrant women – are a staggering abuse of human rights.”  She went on to say the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general must investigate the allegations in Wooten’s complaint.  

Rep. Bonnie Watson Colemanwho attended a hearing on Monday Sept. 19, 2020 to discuss the ICE report, called the sterilization allegations, “one of the most inhumane things I have ever heard.” While Rep. Pramila Jayapal wrote a letter, signed by 173 lawmakers, demanding a DHS inspector general investigation. 

An unnamed detained woman was claimed, by Wooten, to have a cyst on her left ovary but the doctor removed the right one, which lead to him removing both. This left the woman completely infertile. “She still wanted children, so she has to go back home now and tell her husband that she can’t bear kids,” said Wooten in the complaint.   

However, Clark said, “These allegations are disturbing and sensational, but they are not supported by reality.” He explained that Amin has been in “good standing” for the entirety of his time at the hospital and in the community. Through his attorneys, Amin has denied all of the accusations and has not been answering any questions.