Mexico identifies woman who may have had unconsensual gynecological surgery in U.S. detention

by Reuters
Tuesday, 29 September 2020 02:34 GMT

ARCHIVE PHOTO: A U.S. Border Patrol agent apprehends undocumented migrants after they illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in Mission, Texas, U.S., April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

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The Mexican Foreign Ministry confirmed that the woman had undergone a gynecological intervention, potentially without her consent

MONTERREY, Mexico, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Mexico said it has identified one Mexican woman who underwent gynecological surgery, potentially without her consent, while detained at the Georgia immigration facility that's been the center of allegations about unauthorized hysterectomies.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday that the woman had undergone a "gynecological surgical intervention" and that the medical case file provided by the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE) agency did not include documentation showing that she'd consented to the procedure, which was not a hysterectomy.

The ministry also said that it has interviewed 7 other Mexican women currently or recently detained at the Georgia facility who said they'd had interactions with the doctor accused of conducting improper hysterectomies and other gynecological procedures.

None of these seven women said they'd undergone hysterectomies, the ministry said.

Earlier this month, a complaint by a whistleblower nurse alleged medical abuse within the Georgia detention center facility, including unauthorized hysterectomies, a surgery to remove the uterus. Reuters interviewed the nurse, Dawn Wooten, but could not independently confirm the claims.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has denied the allegations, which have shocked people across Latin America, from where many U.S. immigrants hail, and caused an outcry among Democratic lawmakers.

Washington State Representative Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat, told reporters on a conference call on Saturday that she'd visited the facility and spoken to eight women who told her they'd been the subject of forced or coerced procedures, most without consent, including partial or full sterilization.

She said the women also told her they'd been shackled during the procedures.

ICE did not respond to an immediate request for comment about the Mexican Foreign Ministry's statement or Rep. Jayapal's allegations. (Reporting by Laura Gottesdiener and Mica Rosenberg, writing by Laura Gottesdiener; Editing by Michael Perry)