More women—two-thirds of whom are mothers—are behind bars today than at any other point in U.S. history. But federal and state laws and regulations fail to ensure humane treatment of pregnant women and mothers.
Amanda K. was six months pregnant and went into early labor with a prolapsed umbilical cord. She went to a local hospital for care where she underwent emergency surgery, but unfortunately her son soon died. But, rather than providing the support and compassionate care she and her family needed, the hospital drug tested her. The positive result was used as a basis for reporting her to the police and having her arrested for the crime of “chemical endangerment” of a child.
NPR recounts chilling tales by women who were shackled during labor and childbirth, and reports on the ongoing efforts to end this practice.
Pennsylvania is poised to become the tenth state to restrict the shackling of pregnant women in labor or childbirth, once the governor signs the bill.
The New York State Commission of Correction has issued a scathing report on the death of a pregnant woman in an Onondaga County jail, finding that competent medical attention would have saved her life.
The American Medical Association takes a stand against shackling pregnant women in labor.
Washington becomes the seventh state to limit the shackling of pregnant women in prison.
Pennsylvania makes progress on bill to limit the shackling of imprisoned women during labor and childbirth
California’s legislature recently considered a bill that was at once both straightforward and groundbreaking. A simple adjustment to the state Welfare and Institutions Code would assist incarcerated youth with children of their own in being more effective parents, which would be a huge victory for reproductive justice advocates. SB 134 would achieve this by expanding the list of approved persons incarcerated young parents may contact regarding their children’s care while they are detained in state and county juvenile facilities.
Washington State could become the seventh state to enact a law limiting the shackling of imprisoned women during labor and childbirth; legislative hearing on Monday, January 18