A Statement by the NYAAF Board of Directors Addressing the Reproductive Violence Faced by Immigrants at ICE Detention Center in Georgia

September 16, 2020

Media contacts:
NYAAF Communications Co-Managers
May Sifuentes

Jenna McDavid


New York, NY—Yesterday, major media outlets reported allegations of forced sterilizations at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Ocilla, Georgia. A tip from nurse Dawn Wooten accused the Irwin County Detention Center of medically neglecting their mostly Spanish-speaking immigrant detainees as well as misinforming them about their health conditions. This resulted in an alarmingly high number of hysterectomies performed at the center. If true, these allegations robbed these individuals of their choice to decide if, when, and how to bear a child, and would constitute a violation of their human rights.

The New York Abortion Access Fund (NYAAF) is both horrified and angered by these allegations. As an organization, NYAAF believes that every person should be able to determine their own reproductive destiny and have access to the resources, rights, and respect to be able to do so — no matter who they are, or where they come from. The individuals detained at the Irwin County Detention Center were denied key aspects of a healthy, full life when they were allegedly sterilized without full consent. 

Latinx, Black, Indigenous, and immigrant communities have a long history of being subjected to reproductive violence and coercion by the United States government and other U.S.-based entities. As such, NYAAF joins activists, community leaders, and concerned citizens around the country in condemning the alleged actions of the Irwin County Detention Center and demand a full investigation. We will continue holding our government accountable and demanding justice for anyone whose bodily autonomy has been disrespected.