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National Women of Faith Condemn Claims of ICE Sterilization


September 16, 2020


Michelle Nealy, mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org, (202) 735-7123

Austin Schuler, aschuler@faithinpubliclife.org, (540) 280-3393

National Women of Faith Condemn Claims of ICE Sterilization

Washington, D.C. — A whistleblower complaint filed with the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General by a nurse in an ICE detention facility revealed very disturbing medical abuse of women in custody, including a pattern of medically unnecessary hysterectomies and refusal to provide COVID-19 tests. 

Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO of Faith in Public Life:

“God desires liberation, compassionate care, and dignified treatment for everyone, regardless of immigration status. The horrific reports of forced sterilization and medical neglect of women in ICE custody demand immediate, thorough investigation and swift accountability. To do no harm and to obtain informed consent are bedrock principles of medical care. Eugenics is an especially cruel and evil manifestation of racism.

This nation’s immigrant detention facilities have a longstanding, gruesome record of human rights abuses. No one should be subjected to such cruel treatment. Our policies are fundamentally broken and must be completely overhauled.”

Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice:

“The allegations of Ms. Wooten and former detainees are shocking. The forced sterilization of immigrants and refugees by ICE agents is an evil violation of my Catholic faith, the law of our country, and international human rights. It is the antithesis of a pro-life stance. The victims of these crimes must be protected, and the perpetrators and their enablers must be held responsible. The dehumanizing racist rhetoric and policies of President Trump have allowed fascism to seep into our governmental institutions, resulting in these horrific acts inside an experimental concentration camp set up with taxpayer funding. The American people must act together to end this evil in our nation and move together to recover our moral compass.”

Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis, Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church:

“A whistleblower has reported forced sterilization of women in ICE custody. How numb have we become as society when our nation’s leaders barely flinch at crimes against humanity in a modern-day concentration camp? Every person trapped in our immoral detention system is loved by God and deserving of justice. This moment calls for fierce moral urgency. While the Inspector General’s investigation is conducted, the facility must be closed and the people held inside must be released.”

Shannon Dingle, Writer,  Human Trafficking and Disability Activist:

“Sterilization has historically been used as a tool for racism and ableism. Given ongoing reports of poor medical care in ICE custody, I can’t fathom that any hysterectomies are being provided for the well-being of women. These hysterectomies of imprisoned women are for oppressive purposes, made more vile by attempts to deport the victims, and God’s people must oppose oppression.”

Lisa Sharon Harper, Author of The Very Good Gospel, President and Founder of Freedom Road, LLC:

“The recent revelation that 17 or more women detained for years in an American for-profit detention center have undergone forced or coerced sterilization–against their will–is indication that the United States of America is not in danger of losing its soul. Our soul is slipping away before our very eyes. These women stand in the lineage of Black, Latino. Native American whose bodies and families and dreams were altered forever in the service of Eugenics. Either we rise up now and declare a mighty “No!” to this insanity or we fold our hands and slip into oblivion–our dream of the more perfect union dissolved to dust.”


Faith in Public Life is a national movement of clergy and faith leaders united in the prophetic pursuit of justice, equality and the common good. Together, we are leading the fight to advance just policies at the state and federal level. Our network of 50,000 leaders engage in bold moral action that affirms our values and the human dignity of all.

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