The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom strongly condemns the reported practice of forced hysterectomies on women held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody. This is systemic racism and xenophobia targeting immigrant and other vulnerable communities. No human being should ever have to undergo any procedure that impacts their body without their consent.
Subjecting women to involuntary hysterectomies while in ICE custody is deplorable. This is only the newest chapter in a long, shameful history of U.S. federal-and-state-led forced sterilizations of women and girls: Immigrants, African Americans, Asian Americans, Latin Americans, Indigenous women, women in poverty, women with physical or developmental disabilities, women with mental health challenges, incarcerated women, all forcibly sterilized without their knowledge.
This practice also terrifyingly resembles the procedures utilized by the Nazis in Germany during the Holocaust, and more recently, the abusive treatment against Uyghur Muslims in China. We condemn these genocidal and eugenic practices, no matter where and when they occur.
We call on every citizen to contact their local, state, and federal legislators to take action. Our leaders must demand that the Inspector General open an investigation to get to the bottom of this situation and, if proven true, put an immediate stop to this inhumane practice so that no person will ever be forced, unwillingly or unwittingly, to undergo any procedure that impacts their body. It is imperative that we demand our leaders bring charges against all persons involved, recognizing that according to international law, this is a crime against humanity.
We must demand that immigrant communities receive justice for the inhumane treatment they have suffered. Every human, no matter where they are from or now reside, deserves a life with the unalienable rights of freedom and justice.
In the words of civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer, who herself was forced to undergo an unnecessary and unwanted hysterectomy without her knowledge or consent, “nobody’s free until everybody’s free.”
On behalf of Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom,
Sisterhood Social Justice Action Groups:
Immigrant Communities Advocacy and Support (ICAS) Action Group
Racial Justice Action Group
Uyghur and India Action Group
The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom is an international organization comprised of over 8,000 Muslim and Jewish women who are committed to ending acts of anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim sentiment. We also work to eradicate all forms of hate and build bridges that foster social justice for all people in North America and around the world.