Today, the National Women’s Law Center, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, SisterLove, Inc., and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice submitted an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs in Oldaker v. Giles, 20-cv-224 (M.D. Ga). The lawsuit is about medical abuse at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia. More than 40 women filed sworn testimony alleging that they were subjected to non-consensual and medically unnecessary gynecological procedures. The plaintiffs have filed a request for a temporary restraining order calling for an immediate end to retaliation against women for speaking out and writs from the court requiring ICE to make the women available to participate in the lawsuit. The brief highlights gender justice and reproductive justice, including the ways that the government has historically committed violence and sexual violence against women, in particular women of color and immigrant women, and how important it is to support survivors in speaking up against that violence. And when the women publicly spoke out about their abuse, the government responded through a pattern of retaliatory actions, including solitary confinement, physical assault, withholding commissary, rationing water, cell restrictions, and, ultimately, deportations.
The following is a quote from the brief:
“Our country’s history of taking away agency from women of color continues, egregiously demonstrated by the case at hand. The allegations of nonconsensual physical exams and forced sterilizations on undocumented immigrants at the Irwin County Detention Center is appalling, but by no means surprising, given the horrific history of this practice in the United States. The allegations are not simply isolated and individualized actions by one doctor nicknamed “the Uterus Collector,” but are part of a long legacy of sexual and medical violence and battery against marginalized and incarcerated women. Given this historical backdrop of trauma, our society must support, not punish, survivors who bravely step forward to speak truth.”