I had been in jail for two and a half months when I learned that my breast cancer would necessitate a mastectomy. And I would have to do it alone: no pink pillows, no encouraging cards, no special foods. No comfort, period.
For at least several years, Alameda County sheriffs and medical personnel have routinely conducted pregnancy tests on thousands of prisoners, old and young, fertile and sterile, willing or not. It’s a practice that isn’t shared by any other jails in California. No one can say for exactly how long Alameda County jails have been forcing arrested women to take pregnancy tests, and no one can really explain why.
The question that must be asked, in plain language, is: Do imperfect people deserve death for their imperfection?
After winning a settlement that opened the door for thousands of women to initiate malpractice lawsuits against Dalkon Shield, the IUD that caused my sterilization, I naively thought we had seen the end of sterilization atrocities. Unfortunately, that is not so, at least in California.
As the Massachusetts Legislature considers this year’s crop of criminal justice reform bills, one that has not gotten much attention is a measure to ensure proper treatment of pregnant women in jail and prison.
Doris Kearns Goodwin offers ideas on Clinton’s next steps, doulas assist mothers behind bars, Population Action International gives Michael Gerson a reality check, and the APA considers removing gender identity disorder from the DSM-V.
An Arizona state court ruled that a county sheriff’s unwritten policy refusing to provide transportation to female prisoners seeking an abortion violated women’s rights. Last week the U.S. Supreme Court let the decision stand.