Too often, news stories about people in prison or jail use dehumanizing language to describe those under government control. The term “inmate” is the most pervasive of these words; it is widely used by judges, prison and jail officials and staff, and the media.
The attack on Michelle Wilkins was an unfathomable act of cruelty. However, Colorado legislators must not use it as grounds for passing new feticide laws that will actually make pregnant women vulnerable to arrest and punishment.
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.
During a five-month review of more than 200 lawsuits, and interviews with lawyers and public health experts, RH Reality Check found that drug treatment for incarcerated women is inconsistent and inadequate—and in some incidents, it is fatal.
RH Reality Check has identified at least a dozen instances of women experiencing miscarriages, stillbirths, and ectopic pregnancies in jails and prisons across the country, in circumstances that show a shocking lack of medical care from the professionals charged with providing it.
In this first part of RH Reality Check‘s Women, Incarcerated series, we focus on one woman’s prison time—which involved a high-risk pregnancy, forced induced labor, and shackling—to illustrate the problems that thousands of women face behind bars.
According to Tamara Loertscher and her attorneys, unbeknownst to her, as hospital workers were preparing a prescription to treat Loertscher’s thyroid condition, they were also initiating unborn child protection proceedings on behalf of Loertscher’s then 14-week-old fetus.
A coalition of reproductive and racial justice advocates are demanding better standards of care for the 500 or so pregnant Texans—most whom are Black and Latina—incarcerated in Texas county jails each month.
If Colorado expands the definition of “person” and “child” in its criminal code to include “unborn human beings,” the results would be especially devastating for Latina women and other women of color.
A judge has dropped charges brought against a pregnant Montana woman who was arrested after failing a drug test in late August.