STATEMENT: Whistleblower Report of Hysterectomies in ICE Detention Is Emblematic of Widespread Reproductive Coercion and Abuses of Women’s Rights

Washington, D.C. — In a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, a nurse at the Irwin County Detention Center, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility operated by the private corporation LaSalle Corrections, details gross human rights abuses in the facility. The complaint includes allegations of medical neglect, dangerous practices in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and startling claims of coerced, mass hysterectomies.

Reports of mass hysterectomies and medical neglect in ICE detention are horrifying but sadly not surprising. The United States has a long and sordid history of reproductive coercion and forced sterilization, particularly targeting Black, Latina, and Native American women as well as women with disabilities and incarcerated women. These racist, eugenicist practices are often sanctioned by U.S. law, which to this day allows for the sterilization of anyone deemed “unfit.” Furthermore, abuses of women’s health and rights in immigration detention are nothing new. Detention facilities routinely deny adequate health care and inflict abuse and neglect, from lack of maternal health care to limits on reproductive autonomy to sexual abuse. The Trump administration has gone to great lengths to deny reproductive freedom to people in immigration custody, including rolling back the presumption that pregnant women generally should not be detained and taking steps to deny young women the right to an abortion.

Source: STATEMENT: Whistleblower Report of Hysterectomies in ICE Detention Is Emblematic of Widespread Reproductive Coercion and Abuses of Women’s Rights – Center for American Progress

Just 1 woman among 25 CEOs appointed in past year. We need a reset and in 2020 we’ve been given one

Just one of the 25 CEOs appointed to lead ASX 200 organisations in the past year has been female, and it’s not something we can excuse as a 2020 anomaly.

It’s hard to believe that the already minuscule number of women leading these organisations could have dwindled further, but it has. Dropping from 12 to 10. So just 5 percent of ASX200 companies are now led by a woman.

Other key stats from the CEW report:

  • Just 5 per cent of leadership line roles in healthcare are held by women, despite the workforce being female dominated
  • Women in senior IT roles have dropped to 9%, from 21% four years ago

Source: Just 1 woman among 25 CEOs appointed in past year. We need a reset and in 2020 we’ve been given one

‘There are no human rights here’: Inside the Government’s ‘exploitative’ backpacker visa scheme

Sexual harassment, requests to wear a bikini, being asked to lure other backpackers into exploitative schemes, and an hourly wage of just $2.50 — these are the stories of backpackers working under the Federal Government’s visa scheme.

Source: ‘There are no human rights here’: Inside the Government’s ‘exploitative’ backpacker visa scheme – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

A child’s consent to transition: the view from Down Under

Imogen (No. 6) [2020] FamCA 761; (10 September 2020)

The court had a variety of questions to grapple with. If there is a dispute about medical treatment for an adolescent, was it mandatory to make an application to court to resolve that dispute? If Imogen was Gillick competent – could she make her own decision without her parents’ consent? If the court had to resolve the dispute then what was the legal test?

The court found that where there was such a dispute about the existence of a medical condition or the need for treatment, it was mandatory to make an application to the court – and interestingly there was official guidance that got the law wrong about that.

The discussions in this case are very relevant for every common law jurisdiction – there has been a staggering increase in recent years of the number of children wishing to ‘transition’ from one sex to the other and some interesting legal actions on the horizon, criticising the swiftness with which children are put on the path of ‘affirmation’ that leads to medication and surgery.

The court noted at paragraph 27 that the Australian Standards gave incorrect guidance as to the law about when an adolescent could consent to stage 2 treatment – an interesting parallel to the situation in England and Wales where a number of official guidances around treatment of trans children are being challenged as unlawful.

Source: A child’s consent to transition: the view from Down Under | Child Protection Resource

Social justice firm says bishop’s comments put children at risk of sexual assault

Lawyers have condemned a Queensland bishop who encouraged priests to break new laws and risk prison time rather than break the “seal of confession” to report suspected or known cases of sexual abuse against children to police.

Social justice firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers has slammed Bishop Michael McCarthy over his comments encouraging priests to break new laws and risk a three-year prison sentence rather than break the confessional seal to report child sexual abuse to police.

Under changes passed into law in Queensland, priests can be jailed if they fail to report confessions of child sexual abuse. The new legislation means that priests are not able to use the confessional as a defence or excuse in child sexual abuse matters.

Source: Social justice firm says bishop’s comments put children at risk of sexual assault – Lawyers Weekly

300 years on, will thousands of women burned as witches finally get justice?

It spanned more than a century and a half, and resulted in about 2,500 people – the vast majority of them women – being burned at the stake, usually after prolonged torture. Remarkably, one of the driving forces behind Scotland’s “satanic panic” was no less than the king, James VI, whose treatise, Daemonologie, may have inspired the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Now, almost 300 years after the Witchcraft Act was repealed, a campaign has been launched for a pardon for those convicted, an apology to all those accused and a national memorial to be created.

“In Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh, there are monuments to all sorts of men on horseback, and even a full-size statue of a named bear. But there is nothing to commemorate the hundreds, if not thousands, who died as a result of one of the most horrible miscarriages of justice in Scottish history,” Mitchell said.

Those arrested under the Witchcraft Act were usually tortured into making confessions. Women, who made up 84% of the accused, were not permitted to give evidence at their own trials. Those convicted were strangled and burned at the stake so there was no body to bury.

Source: 300 years on, will thousands of women burned as witches finally get justice? | Scotland | The Guardian

A window opens on how doctors treat troubled transgender teens

In a landmark case about gender dysphoria, a Family Court judge in Sydney ruled last week that a 16-year-old boy should be allowed to transition to a girl over the objections of his mother.

The judgement, written by Justice Garry Watts, made one positive contribution to the debate over transgender treatment, albeit technical. It clarified the position of Australian law for minors want to transition to another gender.

It certainly needed to be clarified. The judge rebuked Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, the authors of The Australian Standards of Care and Treatment Guidelines for transgender children, for getting it seriously wrong.

The Standards tell patients, parents and doctors that “Current law allows the adolescent’s clinicians to determine their capacity to provide informed consent for treatment.”

But this is false, as Justice Watts points out. The Standards “incorrectly state the current law in relation to the need for the consent of parents/guardians to stage 2 treatment,” he notes quietly.

In fact, the position of the law is that “If there is a dispute about consent or treatment, a doctor should not administer stage 1, 2 or 3 treatment without court authorisation.” The information given by Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne was misleading, allowing doctors to usurp the role of judges.

Source: A window opens on how doctors treat troubled transgender teens » MercatorNet

Protecting men at the women’s shelter

Women, even at their most difficult, do not cause the same kind of problems that arise as a result of men’s presence in women’s shelters. Women do not treat other women the way men treat women. Women do not do to other women what men do to women.

As long as a man claims that he is a woman, our doors are open to him.

Some of the men who stay at the shelter seem harmless enough. They get along with the women; they’re good-natured, respectful, they cause no major problems and the women, for the most part, have no problem sharing space with them.

Other men I would not call harmless.

One man leered at women and trailed them through the shelter, his shorts manifesting the tangible proof of his interest, such that women stopped wearing pajamas outside the bed area in order to avoid attracting his roving eye. Another man would wait in the bathroom to be alone with a woman and then proposition her, on the off chance that she might be raring to give him a blowjob. We hosted a man who would stare and wink at younger female caseworkers; he would summon his target away from the desk on the pretense of helping him with some invented task, and then, when he had her cornered in a more private alcove, invite her to meet him outside the shelter for dates.

In another case, women complained that a man was watching pornography on his cellphone and visibly masturbating in the bed area at night.

On at least three occasions, men staying at the women’s shelter threatened to kill women with guns. Once, a man, enraged at female staff for insisting that he adhere to shelter rules, stormed into the kitchen during dinner, grabbed a tray of food, and began hurling handfuls of scalloped potatoes around the room while yelling that we were all “bitches” and “cunts.”

When women report harassment by men in the shelter space, or approach staff to voice their discomfort, my coworkers’ customary response is to ignore the women’s reports completely.

[I]n order to conform to the caprices of the trending ideology, to be squeaky-clean on-message good progressives, to be caring and sensitive politically savvy good feminists, it is now shelter policy that we prioritize protecting men’s delusions, even if that means we can no longer protect women. Women are well accustomed to making sacrifices for the sake of men’s comfort and feelings.

Everywhere, all the time, men come first. How foolish we would have to be, then, to expect it might be any different at a women’s shelter.

Source: Protecting men at the women’s shelter

Vida Goldstein was one of the first women in the western world to stand for parliament. Her fight still resonates today

Vida Goldstein, born in the Victorian city of Portland in 1869, was the first woman in the western world to nominate for a national parliament.

When Australian women were granted the right to vote by an act of parliament in 1902, the rest of the world recognised this new country as extraordinarily progressive. Women all over the world envied their Australian sisters – Vida was even invited to the US as a representative of “Australia, where women vote”.

Her last campaigns took place during the first world war; she vehemently opposed the then prime minister Billy Hughes’s two attempts to introduce conscription for overseas service. Defying not only the government but a large part of the population, she led public meetings – returned soldiers set fire to her platforms several times – and took steps to see that women and children did not starve while men were away fighting. When conscription was twice defeated, she felt vindicated.

Vida Goldstein was a woman of great ability, courage, intellectual force and determination: surely an asset to any parliament. Had she lived in the US or the UK, where she was lauded and admired, I believe she would certainly have been a member of the national legislature. Both countries had women in parliament or congress within five years of them gaining the vote; in Australia though, it took 40 years after women won the vote to see them take a seat in parliament.

Source: Vida Goldstein was one of the first women in the western world to stand for parliament. Her fight still resonates today | Books | The Guardian