The House immigration subcommittee is investigating a whistleblower complaint accusing doctors at an ICE detention centre of surgically removing detainees’ wombs

Demonstrators march through downtown calling for the abolition of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on August 16, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Olson/Getty Images
  • The House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship is investigating a whistleblower complaint alleging an unusual number of hysterectomies at an immigrant detention facility, a Democratic staffer told Business Insider.
  • On Monday, immigrant advocacy groups published a whistleblower complaint from a nurse at the privately run Irwin County Detention Centre in Georgia.
  • The complaint alleges that immigrant detainees are being sterilized at an unusual rate, sometimes without their consent.
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The House committee charged with oversight of the US immigration system is investigating a whistleblower complaint alleging an unusual number of hysterectomies at a detention facility in Georgia, Business Insider has learned.

In a Monday letter to the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, Project South and other immigrant advocacy organisations highlighted testimony from Dawn Wooten, a nurse at the privately run Irwin County Detention Centre, and other employees raising “red flags regarding the rate at which hysterectomies are performed on immigrant women.”

“I’ve had several inmates tell me that they have been to see the doctor and they have had hysterectomies and they don’t know why they went or why they’re going,” Wooten said in the letter. She alleged that the facility relies on one gynecologist in particular: “Everybody he sees has a hysterectomy — just about everybody.”

Following the report, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship “is engaging in oversight over DHS to dig into this complaint,” according to a Democratic staffer familiar with the committee’s work.

The subcommittee, chaired by Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, has jurisdiction over immigration enforcement and border security.

ICE spokesperson Lindsay Williams told Business Insider the agency does not comment on matters presented to its inspector general. “That said, in general, anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics, should be treated with the appropriate scepticism they deserve,” Williams said.

This is not the first controversy involving the Trump administration and the reproductive systems of detained immigrant women.

In December 2017, a federal judge issued a restraining order after it was revealed that the Office of Refugee Resettlement was trying to prevent detained women from obtaining abortions.

In 2019, MSNBC reported that the office, led by Trump appointee Scott Lloyd, was also maintaining a spreadsheet tracking the pregnancies of detained immigrants.

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