In the newly released season of Orange Is the New Black, Daya Diaz must grapple with whether she should give her baby up for adoption or have the newborn go into foster care as she finishes her 36-month sentence. Diaz’s plight reflects the real-life situation of incarcerated mothers around the country.
The combination of mass incarceration and inflexible foster laws leads to an extraordinary, disproportionate punishment that overwhelmingly affects poor and minority women, an expert told RH Reality Check.
Maya Schenwar’s book uses her family’s personal experiences with incarceration as a framing device for more general statistics about how the legal system works, addressing the racism, classism, heterosexism, and misogyny at the heart of law-and-order policies.
Among other things, the new law requires that inmates have access to mental health assessments and treatment during pregnancy and postpartum, and mandates that correctional facilities offer pregnancy and STD tests to inmates.
The over-policing and over-criminalization of pregnant women and mothers is becoming a major issue in this country, and the safety of mothers is at stake.
Sheryl Sandberg and others want to see us ban the word “bossy” when talking about girls. But for many Black women, being called “bossy” and being bossy have the potential to save and change our lives.
So far this year, lawmakers in at least five states have introduced legislation to prohibit the practice of shackling pregnant inmates.
I often hear the question from African-American women, “What do they [the right] want? We either have too many kids or too many abortions. Which is it?” The truth is, to them, it’s both.
Our new study makes clear that post-Roe anti-abortion and “pro-life” measures are being used to do far more than limit access to abortion; they are providing the basis for arresting women, locking them up, and forcing them to submit to medical interventions, including surgery.
We thought passing our antishackling bill would be easy. After all, who would want to be seen arguing that pregnant women should wear chains?