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.
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?
The exact cause of her death, which, according to the Associated Press, occurred “hours after she surrendered to serve a 48-hour sentence,” is unclear.
Tennessee steps closer to a constitution that doesn’t protect a right to abortion; Arizona has a new anti-abortion law; Filippino president risks ex-communication for reproductive health bill; and the reproductive health needs of women in prison.
Telemundo 52 recently reported on Alma Minerva Chacon, a woman who was terrorized by Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio by being forced to give birth in chains despite the pleading of nurses and other medical staff.
Last week a federal Court of Appeals held for the first time that the Constitution protects pregnant women in prison from unnecessary and unsafe shackling during labor and childbirth. Our video answers FAQs on shackling.
While some states do criminalize HIV exposure, a U.S. District Judge does more than this – he imprisons a woman for the mere possibility that she might transmit HIV in the future.