Forced Sterilization and Lack of Social Control
On September 14, a nurse, Dawn Wooten, who was previously employed at the Irwin County Detention Center filed a whistleblower complaint. This complaint claimed that the facility showed forms medical neglect, including refusal to test detainees for COVID, lack of safety guidelines for employees and detainees surrounding COVID, shredding medial requests and fabricating medical records. One of the main focuses of the report was the complaint regarding “the rate at which hysterectomies are performed on immigrant women under ICE custody.” ICE has denied these accusations saying that data has only shown two women have had a hysterectomy in that facility since 2018, and that something like this would never be done without the detainee’s consent.
I will say that this is the first time I have heard about this happening in detention centers, jails, prisons, etc. The really sad part is that this has been going on for decades and that I am just now learning about it. I am not sure whether I have heard about it before and completely disregarded it because I did not think that something inhumane like this would still consistently be going on, not just in the United States, but in the world. The lack of respect for women is a problem that has been going on forever, but this is just a whole different level. Performing hysterectomies on women who are not fully aware of what is really happening and are not able to give proper informed consent, is something that I cannot fathom that continuously has been occurring. My next question is what is even the purpose of performing these procedures without these women’s consent? One of the detainees at the facility said, “It was like they’re experimenting with our bodies.” This is so sad to hear because if they wanted to do some type of experimentation with hysterectomies, I am sure that they could find a lot of CONSENTING women who would be willing to offer to help science. But I think that performing hysterectomies on women in detention centers, prisons, jails, etc. without their knowledge is just a way to exercise their power over these women who have no control.
This is where deviance and control come in because in my head, I am thinking that there is no way that performing illegal hysterectomies and having a doctor nicknamed “the uterus collector,” is something that can go on. Illegal sterilization of women in itself is deviant behavior.
Who is really responsible here? Yes, the doctors who performed these procedures are 100% to blame, but there are also so many others involved in each procedure that have not done anything either. What’s even worse is for the many who have tried to come forward, ICE or any other institution has fired that person and has tried to kick this under the rug. This is not something that can just be shoved under the rug without having any consequences. So, my question is who is really in charge here? And why are those who are in charge allowing for this to continue to go on?
The lack of control that the federal governments have on institutions and even other government agencies is a major concern. It makes you wonder of the scary realities of other major issues that are being hidden every day. It goes to show how little the government really has the ability to control high institutions and other government agencies, or rather, how they choose to not exercise that power and hold them accountable for their actions. We can ask the basic question of why do people typically not commit crimes? Because it is against the law and can have consequences. So, basically what is being said here is that people can be arrested for almost nothing and then you have doctors sterilizing women without their consent and are not getting in trouble for it. There has to be some type of accountability for the wrongs that are done by everyone. The focus is too often on the crimes that are committed by the lower and middle classes, but there has to be consequences for those of the upper class and those who hold power as well. Social control and criminal deviance are not just something that applies to some people and not others. In order for it to be effective, it has to apply to everyone.