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CMA president issues statement on allegations of forced hysterectomies at ICE detention centers

September 18, 2020
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy 


CMA President Peter N. Bretan, Jr., M.D., issued the following statement in response to allegations of forced hysterectomies at ICE detention centers:

"The California Medical Association (CMA) is gravely concerned by the recent whistleblower allegations regarding an irregularly high number of hysterectomies on women being held by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia.

These allegations evoke dark chapters in our nation’s history of government officials ordering unnecessary medical procedures on patients without their consent. Historically, these cases have often targeted communities of color and have been motivated by bad science and racial animosity.

Unnecessary hysterectomies without explicit patient consent are fundamentally at odds with basic standards of the medical profession, not to mention human decency. Physicians take a lifelong oath to ‘do no harm’ and must cherish the patient-physician relationship, at the core of which is a patient’s right to receive information about and provide informed consent for medical care and procedures. Holding patients in facilities that directly jeopardize their health, let alone performing unwarranted and nonconsensual hysterectomies is a violation of CMA’s values. CMA supports oversight and improvement of health and human rights conditions in ICE detention facilities and we urge a thorough investigation into these deeply disturbing allegations." 

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