Posts tagged women
Posts tagged women
America is almost unique in the civilised world for forcing pregnant prisoners to undergo childbirth cuffed and shackled
In 2007, a 17-year-old girl called Cora Fletcher was charged with retail theft. Over a year later, after she missed a court date, she was sent to the Cook County jail, in Illinois. She was eight months pregnant at the time.
During a pre-natal check-up at the facility, her baby appeared to have no heartbeat, so she was sent to the county hospital. As the medical team tried to induce her, Fletcher claims that both her hands and both her feet were shackled to either side of the bed. Only when she finally went into labor, three days later, was one hand and one foot released. It’s hard to imagine a more crucifying way to force a woman to try to give birth.
Sadly for Fletcher, there was no payoff for the trauma and humiliation she was forced to endure, as her baby was born dead.
Fletcher was one of the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit brought against Cook County on behalf of 80 female prisoners and detainees who also claimed to have had similar experiences of being shackled during childbirth. Just under two weeks ago, the county agreed to a settlement of $4.1m dollars payable to the women, who will each receive between $5,000 and $45,000.
The Cook County sheriff’s office made it clear, however, that they were agreeing to the deal for expediency’s sake only and were admitting to no wrongdoing. This despite the fact that Illinois became the first state in the union to ban the practice of shackling women during labor, back in 1999 – at least seven years before any of the women named in the lawsuit had their babies. A spokesman for the department, Frank Bilecki, went so far as to issue a statement claiming the jail’s treatment of (female) detainees is the “most progressive in the nation”.
If that is the case, women in America better watch their backs.
The practices of making pregnant women wear belly chains and of shackling their hands and feet before, after and sometimes during labor, are just another way in which the United States distinguishes itself – or fails to distinguish itself, perhaps – as anything but a bastion of liberty and justice and a champion of women’s rights. No other country in the “civilized world” finds shackling pregnant women a necessary or desirable procedure. The practice has been repeatedly and vigorously condemned by the committee against torture at the United Nations; and it has been decried by both the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (You can imagine how doctors relish the prospect of trying to safely deliver a baby whose mother is in chains.)
Yet, here in America, only 16 of the 50 states have any kind of legislation to restrict or ban the practice. And as was evidenced in the Cook County, Illinois law suit, even states that do have laws on their books don’t necessarily feel compelled to uphold them.
RECALL ALL REPUBLICANS IN 2012!
As a woman, I am on the same level as a barn yard animal. I am on the same level as livestock, not believed to make decisions for myself because I lack the ability of high-functioning cognitive thought.
I guess if I ever have children I should just call the FUCKING VET….
gonna staple this to the shirts of everyone who tries to equate domestic violence solely with a nationality or a religion or a culture and not let them take it off until it sinks in.
You might think that the right wing in this country was getting the message that women will no longer stand for legal, verbal, and physical abuse and harassment, especially by elected officials. You would especially think that would be the case in Virginia where former Vice Presidential aspirant Governor Bob McDonnell, who is contemplating signing into law a forced ultrasound bill after doing women a “favor” and taking out the forced trans-vaginal ultrasounds initially required, has been widely pilloried. You would also think the right-wing would be cautious after a week in which the seemingly untouchable Rush Limbaugh has, as of this writing, lost seven corporate sponsors over his debasing remarks about Sandra Fluke. But you would be wrong. Because, you see, women in this country are so dangerous, their sense of entitlement as citizens so incredibly threatening to the peace of the republic that state police in riot gear were sent to remove peaceful protestors this past weekend.