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This week, whistleblower Dawn Wooten, a nurse at an ICE facility in Georgia, alleged that detained women had received hysterectomies without their informed consent. Though the facility and the doctor involved deny the allegations, congressional Democrats are calling for an investigation.

In her book Medical Apartheid, Harriet Washington delves into the history of such procedures, describing the non-consensual hysterectomies that were often performed on Black and Puerto Rican women dating back to the Jim Crow era and beyond. “Rendering Black women infertile without their knowledge during other surgery was so common that the procedure was called a…

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Sarah Begley

Director at Medium working with authors and books. Formerly a staff writer and editor at Time.