Top Democrats demanded answers Tuesday after a whistleblower nurse filed a complaint claiming that an immigration detention center was performing an exceptional number of hysterectomies on migrant women.
Dawn Wooten, a licensed practical nurse, said the rate of the procedure at the Georgia facility was a red flag, said one particular gynecologist was at the center of the operations, and said some of the women didn’t understand why they were getting it.
She called the doctor “the uterus collector.”
“Everybody’s uterus cannot be that bad,” she said according to the complaint, released by Project South and the Government Accountability Project.
She also reported some medical records are fabricated and there are unsanitary conditions and poor medical testing at the Irwin County Detention Center, run by LaSalle Corrections under a contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
That includes only limited testing for COVID-19, and mixing newly admitted detainees into pools of people already tested and cleared for the virus, without going through isolation procedures.
“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,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie G. Thompson said there’s “an alarming pattern” of abuses at privately run ICE detention centers.
He said his committee will add the allegations to an ongoing investigation.
“We cannot allow the Trump administration’s horrific anti-immigrant policies to continue to threaten the general health and wellness of migrants in government care or of the personnel working at these facilities,” he said.
The nurse’s complaint was filed with Homeland Security’s inspector general, and with the department’s civil rights office, the ICE field office in Atlanta and the warden of the detention center.