Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cruel and Unusual

So... I've only posted things every now and again, and it is well within the realm of possibility that no one checks on this page at all, BUT, I don't mind throwing posts out into the ethos. Here goes:

I've been reading quite a bit recently about the horrific conditions under which incarcerated women give birth in the United States. Several articles, both in the mainstream media and on blogs, have come out to shed light on this issue, and I'd like to join the chorus. Shackling a woman when she gives birth is a clear violation of the Eight Amendment, and should not be tolerated. Women who have undergone childbirth in these conditions detain the practice as humiliating, and in some cases it causes injury. The following is taken from the linked article, on RH Reality Check.

Consider the case of Shawanna Nelson.

When Nelson was six months pregnant, she was incarcerated in Arkansas for passing bad checks. She went into labor during her short sentence. A correctional officer shackled her legs to opposite sides of the bed that transported her to a delivery room, removing them briefly during a nurse's examination. Nelson was re-shackled immediately after giving birth to her nine-pound son.

"She suffered both mental anguish and injury to her back, intense pain because she couldn't move or adjust her position through her birth process," said Dana Sussman, legal fellow at the Center for Reproductive Rights.
Nelson later had surgery to treat symptoms resulting from the delivery of her son, according to The Arkansas Times.

Please take the time to contact your representatives, and tell them that this is unacceptable.


Chomskyite said...

When you combine the often archaic, misogynist practices of "modern" gynecology with the archaic, vindictive practices of the U.S. judicial system, you're bound to get results like these.

kissmypineapple said...

I agree that there is a lot to be desired when it comes to gynecology practiced in the US, especially when it comes to pregnancy and child birth, but I find that there are a lot of problems with the model used in the practice of medicine here, not just with gynecology. Can you elaborate on what you mean by "archaic, misogynist practices?"

There was a thread on Feministing recently that discussed midwifery, and I know that when I am pregnant, I will want a midwife. I don't want to be forced to give birth in a way that is dangerous to my body. Is this perhaps what you mean? How childbirth and pregnancy are treated as illnesses, rather than natural parts of most women's lives?