Forced sterilization: The U.S. could have forced 6 Mexican women to undergo hysterectomies 

A nurse in Georgia said staff had performed questionable hysterectomies on migrant women​​​​​​​

Forced sterilization: The U.S. could have forced 6 Mexican women to undergo hysterectomies 
The Mexican government announced it had requested information from the United States about claims that migrants were subjected to hysterectomies - Photo: File photo
English 22/09/2020 14:39 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City EFE, AP Actualizada 14:49

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Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s Foreign Minister, said the alleged forced sterilization of migrants in the United States is unacceptable. According to Ebrard, Mexico will impose sanctions if the hysterectomies are confirmed. 

During a press conference, Ebrard said forced sterilization is “something unacceptable that we reject even before having the confirmed information.”

 
The Mexican official said the Mexican consulates in the U.S. have interviewed “six women who could have potentially underwent these procedures.” Mexican officials will talk to more Mexican women this week. 
 
Ebrard added that “even in the U.S. there was an important reaction from many organizations and this has to be cleared. If it is confirmed, it is a huge case and it must be sanctioned, and other measures must be implemented.”
 
On Monday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador raised the possibility of taking legal action against the U.S. if Mexican authorities confirm the U.S. forced Mexican women to undergo hysterectomies while detained at an immigration center in Georgia.
 
Last week, the Mexican government announced it had requested information from the United States about claims that migrants were subjected to hysterectomies at a detention center in Georgia.

“A formal request has been made to the appropriate authorities for a report on the supposed negligent actions or rights abuses at immigration detention centers,” Mexico’s Foreign Relations Ministry said.
 
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The government department said consular personnel would try to guarantee migrants’ rights are respected at detention centers. It said it would follow the cases and provide consular assistance to any victims.
 
On September 14, a nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia claimed that staff had performed questionable hysterectomies on migrant women held there. A top U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement medical official has “vehemently” disputed the claim.
 
According to the nurse, the ICE center also refused to test detainees for COVID-19 and shredded medical records.
 
The complaint filed to the Homeland Security Department’s internal watchdog relies on accounts of Dawn Wooten, who worked full-time as a licensed practical nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center until July when she was demoted to work as needed.
 
Wooten calls a gynecologist who works outside the facility “the uterus collector.”
 
“Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy — just about everybody,” Wooten said. “He’s even taken out the wrong ovary on a young lady.”
 
It was unclear to Wooten if women knowingly consented to the operations. Nurses raised concerns about the unnamed doctor.
 
“These immigrant women, I don’t think they really, totally, all the way understand this is what’s going to happen depending on who explains it to them,” she is quoted saying.
 
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The doctor is not named in the complaint, but lawyers who represent women at the jail said their clients have been taken to a local gynecologist named Dr. Mahendra Amin. Scott Grubman, a lawyer for Amin, said in a statement that he was confident the doctor would be cleared of any wrongdoing.
 
ICE said it does not comment on matters before the inspector general but that it takes all allegations seriously.
 
“That said, in general, anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics, should be treated with the appropriate skepticism they deserve,” the agency said in a statement.
 
While the 27-page complaint filed by advocacy group Project South quotes unidentified detainees extensively, it also includes detailed comments from Wooten. The complaint says Wooten was demoted after missing work with coronavirus symptoms, which she believes was retaliation for raising questions about addressing COVID-19.
 
Wooten said the number of detainees infected was much higher than reported because there was no active testing and not all cases were reported, according to the complaint.
 
Wooten is quoted as saying the sick call nurse sometimes fabricated seeing detainees in person when they hadn’t and that she saw the nurse shred a box of detainee complaints without looking at them. She said nurses ignored detainees reporting COVID-19 symptoms.
 
If detainees reported a fever, nurses would put them on over-the-counter cold medication for seven days without testing them for COVID-19, she said.
 
Wooten said the facility declined to use two rapid-testing COVID-19 machines that ICE purchased for USD 14,000 each. No medical staff had been trained on them and she saw the machines used only once.
 
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