October 8, 2020 – Last month, allegations made against an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility drew national attention to unnecessary medical procedures, including hysterectomies, performed on individuals without informed consent based on shared decision making. Coerced healthcare is unacceptable, unethical, and is a violation of human rights.

AWHONN’s position statement, “Access to Care”, is clear.  Access to comprehensive, quality health care services is a fundamental human right. Healthcare professionals have an ethical obligation to advocate for their patients and these services. Additionally, AWHONN’s “Health Care Decision Making for Reproductive Care” supports individuals’ right to health care that aligns with their values and preferences in a system that respects an individual’s right to make decisions.

As an organization, we are pleased that the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General has taken up an investigation of these claims. We call for a swift and comprehensive inquiry regarding the treatment of individuals detained in ICE facilities.


Rebecca Cypher, MSN, PNNP
AWHONN President

Kathleen Hale, MS, RN, NE-BC
Interim CEO

AWHONN Board of Directors