Dr. Dorothy Roberts is right: Incarceration of women “inflicts incalculable damage to communities …. [transferring] racial disadvantage to the next generation.”
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 legal landscape after the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision is taking shape, and it’s a mess.
Many advocates have understandably focused on the Supreme Court in recent weeks. But what gets lost in that focus are the stories that show the right to basic bodily autonomy is at stake for sex workers, trans people of color, and those who are disproportionately incarcerated.
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.
The Drug War and the War on Reproductive Health aren’t just rhetorical. One woman’s tragic death shows us the true human cost of devaluing pregnant women.
Women were once seen as “second victims” of abortion. Now, as women face murder trials for unintended pregnancy losses, they’re potential fodder for a prison system that is steadily becoming one of the biggest businesses in the country.