Melanie Bui Larsen
Director of Communications and Outreach
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2020
RCRC Decries Forced Sterilization on Immigrants at ICE Detention Centers and the U.S.’s History of Reproductive Oppression of BIPOC
(Washington, DC) – Statement by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC):
The recent account of alleged forced sterilizations on immigrants at ICE Detention Centers is consistent with the horror of the centuries-long history of the U.S. government committing crimes of reproductive abuse and torture against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). This systemic reproductive oppression has denied individuals and communities their basic human dignity, their bodily autonomy, their physical health, and their ability to make sacred decisions about creating and growing their families.
This allegation is also consistent with the confirmed reproductive injustice of family separation of immigrants whose only crime is to seek refuge and better the quality of their families’ lives. We are clear that gynecological experimentation without consent, and reproductive suppression through forced hysterectomies, tubal ligations, and long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs)—have always been strategies of fear and control fueled by patriarchy, white supremacy, and Christian nationalism in the United States. The intention is clear: maintain power through the dehumanization of the “other.”
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice champions reproductive freedom, which includes the agency to have as few or as many children as an individual sees fit, when and how they choose to. We are witnessing this basic human right being trampled at both ends (through forced births and forced sterilizations), rendering this administration’s “pro-life” rhetoric increasingly hollow and appalling.
Across our sacred traditions and texts there is a common call to welcome, respect, and care for the stranger—and to demand an end to unjust practices like those happening in the ICE detention centers. We turn to the words of Reverend Ignacio Castuera who offered this prayer for immigrants:
“May those who are escaping the ravages of war find shelter and sustenance.
May the land in which they seek refuge welcome them and treat them with hospitality.
May those who are seeking to stop the threats of violence against them find a peaceful and healing place.”
Guided by our shared faith values, we envision a world in which all people are free to live with dignity, peace, and all they need to thrive. We must reckon with our history that informs our present reality and decry the violence, abuse, and torture being committed against those who seek refuge in our land.
We demand a thorough investigation of these allegations, swift justice, and a complete overhaul of how our nation treats immigrants and refugees.
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice is a national community of religious organizations and faithful individuals dedicated to achieving reproductive health, rights, and justice. Through education, organizing, and advocacy, we seek to elevate religious voices wherever faith, policy, and our reproductive lives intersect.