House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has called for an investigation into complaints of “jarring medical neglect” at a detention center run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, The Hill reports.
The whistleblower complaint, which was issued on Monday, reported “high rates of hysterectomies done to immigrant women,” at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia.
“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,” Pelosi said in a statement on Tuesday.
“This profoundly disturbing situation recalls some of the darkest moments of our nation’s history, from the exploitation of Henrietta Lacks, to the horror of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, to the forced sterilizations of Black women that Fannie Lou Hamer and so many others underwent and fought,” she said.
Pelosi said that the Department of Homeland Security inspector general should “immediately investigate” the complaint, saying that both Congress and the American public “need to know why and under what conditions so many women, reportedly without their informed consent, were pushed to undergo this extremely invasive and life-altering procedure.”
The complaint also stated that the ICE detention center refused to test detained immigrants for the coronavirus, even if they had been exposed to someone infected or showed symptoms.
Pelosi blasted ICE for its “egregious handling of the coronavirus pandemic,” and said, “Reports such as these point to the urgent need to overhaul our unaccountable detention system and its horrific misuse by the Trump Administration, to ensure that these abuses cannot ever again happen.”
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