Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Laboring in Shackles, a Movement to Free Imprisoned Moms from Restricted Childbirth

It is unanimously agreed, that prison is a place for the bad guys...or women. They don't deserve to have a quality of life that reflects a law-abiding, free individual right? Never once has it crossed my  mind how women who are in custody and pregnant, birth until I happened to read this fascinating article, by ColorLines. Apparently women in custody are typically shackled by the hands or feet during labor and birth. the question for me becomes is this, what is the distinction between quality of life, and basic human rights?

As a mom, who has labored and delivered seven times...simply...it is beyond my comprehension how a woman can labor with her feet and/or hands shackled. It is simply inhumane, the thought, no matter the type of character a woman has, or her past actions, she should be allowed to work with her body in order to bring forth life that is imminent. And that being, is allowing freedom from shackles long enough to birth safely.

Naturally, the argument in shackling women prisoners comes from the side of security, which understandably is logical. But this logic becomes illogical when a woman is in full blown labor. Every single one of us moms who have labored hard, and long, know that a woman in labor isn't going anywhere.  I believe women, no matter who, what, they are, have the basic right to labor freely, whether in custody or in free society.

There is a movement that is growing steam in their cause to end shackling for laboring, incarcerated women...


Putting an end to the shackling of incarcerated pregnant women during childbirth is a cause that has gained steam in recent years. “In the first part of the [past] decade, only three states had ever taken action on this issue. There wasn’t really a national movement recognizing this as a human rights issue,” explains Amy Fettig of the ACLU Prison Project. “That’s really changed in the last three years.”

Four states (Idaho, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Nevada) passed laws this legislative year banning the practice, bringing the total number of states with bans on the books to only 14. In addition, only five state corrections departments (including the District of Columbia) have written policies that stipulate no restraints should be used during labor and birth, according to The Rebecca Project for Human Rights. - ColorLines

What do you think? Is freedom in laboring a basic human rights issue or a loss of quality of life that incarcerated women justly deserve?


Additional Links:

The Prison Birth Project

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