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Statement Regarding Reproductive Injustices

On Monday, September 14th, complaints were filed against the Irwin County Detention Center in Southern Georgia alleging that the center had performed high rates of medically unnecessary hysterectomies, had not adhered to standard practice for COVID testing and protections, and had destroyed medical records. The 27-page statement of complaint was made to the Department of Homeland Security and was filed by the advocacy group Project South on behalf of Dawn Wooten, a nurse at the facility.
These allegations, if true, are reminiscent of the shameful history of the U.S. medical profession’s involvement in involuntary sterilization and experimentation on women of color. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) condemns the unethical practice of coercive or forced sterilization, including hysterectomies, and has put out a statement to that effect.
The UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences condemns all acts of reproductive injustice and coercion. As an institution committed to providing safe, equitable, informed care to all patients, we stand with the ACOG in insisting that this be investigated promptly and that immediate measures be put in place to provide contemporaneous review of health care delivery, particularly surgical care, of people being cared for under ICE.
Additionally, we share the great collective wisdom of our community in offering up these resources. Thank you to Doctors Liza Fuentes, Ryan Huerto, Zoë Julian, Monica McLemore, Karen Scott and Jennifer James for your suggestions.
We applaud the deep courage of those who speak out upon witnessing injustice, specifically in instances where the power imbalance is pronounced and their personal risk is great. We must prioritize integrity in our field, and actively work to protect human & reproductive rights.