Unbound: a Mother's Day gift

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

[This post, an excerpt from a Western States Center piece, is part of a Mama’s Day Series by The Strong Families Initiative. To follow all of the Mama's Day events, visit us on Facebook and Twitter.]

By Aimee Santos-Lyon

What must it feel like to be pregnant and ready to give birth... while wearing restraints?

For many women, anxiety and fear are part of the normal childbirth experience and physical discomfort is part of the process of labor. Although the actual birthing experience varies wildly from woman to woman, it is no picnic in the park for anyone. It is a herculean feat in which women summon energy from the depths of your being for hours on end. It is painful and it is exhausting.

Now imagine being shackled at your hands and feet while all of this is happening.

Incarcerated mothers nationwide experience this humiliation and degradation while giving birth in federal, state and county prisons. Across the country, a patchwork of policies exist to address birthing practices at state and county jails or detention centers—but there is no universal recognition or protection of the dignity and safety of incarcerated birthing mothers. At the federal level, the Rebecca Project for Human Rights won a federal ban in 2010 but the ban does not cover state penitentiaries or county jails. As of 2011, only 10 states in the country have banned the practice of shackling women during childbirth.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment