This unrest reached a high point in September, when nurse Dawn Wooten filed a formal complaint against Dr. Mahendra Amin, a Georgia physician working at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center, who she claims performed mass hysterectomies on detained immigrant women without consent. While the country reacted in shock, the reality is that coerced sterilization against communities of color is not new. The United States has a shameful history of exploiting Black and brown women’s bodies as part of a larger objective for population control rooted in white supremacy — and the medical field is partly to blame.
Charity Scott, JD and professor of law at the Georgia State Catherine C. Henson School of Law, stood at the front of our medical school lecture hall with her arms stretched wide. “The welfare of a pregnant mother?” she said as she dipped one arm down, burdened by an invisible weight. “Or the welfare of an unborn child?”