Many immigrant women in detention centers report being forcefully sterilized and having hysterectomies without their consent. Black and brown immigrant women were targeted because, throughout history, their right to have children has never been accepted. The belief that the fertility of black and brown women’s bodies should be controlled still exists. Their bodies are still being attacked in order to stop them from having children. Also, they are being limited to how many children they can have. Therefore, their mental health takes a toll when they discover they have been denied their right to have children. Immigrant women now live with the trauma of being denied the right to have children.
Immigrant women and their mental health
When you take away a woman’s right to have children, you take away their hope to have a family. This causes women to develop mental health issues like depression, fear, anxiety, etc. Immigrant women are left to deal with the pain all on their own. When women had the procedure, they woke up shocked and afraid. It was difficult for them to accept that they would be denied to have children. This comes with anger, frustration, loss, and feeling alone. Immigrant women have all the right to feel this way. Their dreams to have children of their own were shattered.
In the documentary, “No Mas Bebes” (No more babies), Mexican women were sterilized without their consent in California. The women explained how they felt ashamed for not being able to have more children. They were afraid if they told anyone, people would shame them. Immigrant women probably feel ashamed, but they should not because it was not their fault.
If being stopped from having children was not enough, many immigrant women are being deported. Silencing women through deportation is violent because it is just trying to cover up what happened in detention. Furthermore, deportations add to their trauma because they are being punished for speaking up. It is unfair because they deserve justice for what happened to them. Immigrant women should not be deported. If anything, they should be given justice. Forced sterilization is a crime and genocide. Stopping a population from having the next generation is genocide.
Immigrant women need support and deserve justice in order to move forward. Moreover, they should be provided with mental health services to cope with their loss. They should be provided with mental health providers who are culturally sensitive and can speak their language. In addition, they need a support group of other women who were sterilized without their consent. This way, they have other women who they can relate to, and they can heal together. Immigrant women should be allowed to stay in the US and be granted asylum. Granting these women justice allows them to know that their stories are heard. Overall, immigrant women may not fully get over their loss, but they should be given the necessary help to cope. Forced sterilizations need to end.