WSNA statement on immigrant sterilizations taking place at Georgia detention center under ICE

Ice web

As a state associ­a­tion, it is rare that we wade into national issues. Yet, there are times when our profes­sional ethics and moral compass require us to speak out.

Like so many others, we are horri­fied by recent claims of immigrant steril­iza­tions taking place at a Georgia deten­tion center under the U.S. Immigra­tion and Customs Enforce­ment (ICE). Against a backdrop of poor medical care and lack of protec­tion from COVID-19 within the Irwin Deten­tion Facility, run for ICE by a private prison company, a nurse raised red flags about the unusu­ally high rate of hysterec­tomies performed on immigrant women at the facility. One detainee told Project South, the organi­za­tion that filed the complaint, that: 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.”

Histor­i­cally actions like these carry the scourge of systemic racism – we’ve seen this in the Nazi medical exper­i­ments on Jewish women in the Ravens­bruck concen­tra­tion camp, on black women in the U.S. prison system, on Black, Indige­nous and People of Color as practice” for medical students and as a condi­tion to retain welfare benefits. This must end and we are called to raise our voices in calling for immediate action to thoroughly inves­ti­gate these claims.

Finally, we applaud the courage shown by the ICE nurse in acting as a whistle­blower. As nurses, we are bound by our profes­sional ethics to do no less.

Read the complaint.