Pelosi Statement on House Passage of Resolution Condemning Unwanted Medical Procedures on Immigrant Women

October 2, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after the House passed House Resolution 1153 condemning the infliction of unwanted, unnecessary medical procedures on women in ICE custody:

“Today, with the passage of H. Res. 1153, the House has sent a clear and unequivocal message: the infliction of unwanted, invasive and life-altering medical procedures on immigrant women is an appalling human rights abuse that demands immediate and full accountability.  I salute Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and the Democratic Women’s Caucus for their leadership to shine a light on this staggering abuse and to demand answers from the perpetrators.

“With this resolution, the House calls on the Department of Homeland Security to protect women: providing those who have been forced to undergo these procedures with the care that they need and ensuring that they can participate in any investigation without the fear of reprisal.  And we call on DHS to immediately comply with all investigations and hold all individuals involved accountable, and to bring them to justice.

“The profoundly disturbing situation at the Irwin County Detention Center recalls some of the darkest moments of our nation’s history, from the exploitation of Henrietta Lacks, to the horror of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, to the forced sterilization of a stunning 25 percent of Native American women in the 1970s, to the sterilizations of tens of thousands of Black women in the twentieth century. 

“Sadly, the heartbreaking truth is that these forced sterilizations are part of a years-long campaign of abuse and neglect of our immigrants – some of the most vulnerable people in our midst – at the hands of this Administration.  These reports point to the urgent need to overhaul our unaccountable detention system and its horrific misuse, to ensure that such abuses, and any other human rights abuse, cannot ever again happen.”