Dawn Wooten, a nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia, made the shocking claim that there was “jarring medical neglect” and questionably high numbers of hysterectomies, forced sterilization, in ICE detention centers.
Forced sterilization is not new. However, the behavior and treatment of immigrants by the Trump Administration ask pointed questions behind the rhetoric of being “Pro-Life.” What is disturbing is that the government ordered and financed sterilization on native Americans (all individuals who have indigenous ancestors) from countries including Mexico, Guatemala, Salvador, and Honduras.
Over the last 100 years of US history, the country has a remarkably poor record of human rights when it comes to reproductive freedom:
For an Administration that proclaims to be Pro-Life and received the blessing of majority-white women and evangelicals voters, the actions do not seem to fit congruently with professed beliefs. This disconnect between proclamations and activities in this Administration is not new. The treatment of undocumented immigrants and individuals seeking asylum has been abysmal under the Trump administration, including:
Recently we heard about the chilling complaint of forced sterilization, but what else could be happening in these detention centers? This Administration is adamant about its purest disdain of Native Americans and is pursuing policies straight out of the Eugenics and white supremacy handbook to suppress their population.
In my home country of Peru, a policy of massive forced sterilization of indigenous women was undertaken under President Alberto Fujimori. Nearly 350,000 women and 25,000 men were sterilized under the guise of “population control,” most of the victims were from indigenous communities. The sterilizations had a chilling effect on future generations for the native populations and the culture – as the state-sanctioned murder of indigenous further dehumanizes our presence in society.
An individual’s body should not be subject to government pleasure and decision. That someone eliminates a part of your body to prevent you from having a child is not only an abuse of power – it represents the purest form of evil. As long as we continue to think that the woman’s body is the government’s property, we will never be a truly free society with equality and equity.
Sterilizing women without consent is an evil practice, and it is antithetical to the ideas of being “Pro-Life.”
Where do you stand?
Yenny Delgado (she/her/ ella) Social psychologist and contextual theologian. She writes about the intersections between politics and faith.