Saturday, May 5, 2012

Stop Shackling of Pregnant Prisoners

Jessica Valenti writes for The Nation Magazine. In her recent blog, she addresses five issues that are a part of the Republican’s “War on Women” that goes unnoticed due to the focus on their attempts to roll back women’s rights on reproductive issues. I was stunned when I read what she wrote about the shackling of pregnant women:
Giving birth is no walk in the park—now imagine doing it while in leg restraints and waist chains. Over thirty states still allow the shackling of pregnant women in prison during labor and delivery, despite numerous human rights campaigns to ban the practices. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Public Health Association oppose shackling pregnant women, noting that is a danger to both women’s and fetal health. The practice has been particularly targeted immigrant women and women of color.

Four states (Idaho, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Nevada) passed laws in the 2011legislative year banning the practice, bringing the total number of states with bans on the books to only 14. In addition, only five state corrections departments (including the District of Columbia) have written policies that stipulate no restraints should be used during labor and birth, according to The Rebecca Project for Human Rights.

My country tis of thee...sweet land of liberty. Of thee I sing.

Related articles:

Stop Shackling Pregnant Prisoners, Alex Berg, The Daily Beast

The Movement to Stop Prisons From Shackling Women in Labor Builds,
Miriam Zolla Perez, Colorlines

End the Shackling of Pregnant Inmates in Labor, ACLU Georgia

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