Monday, January 25, 2016

California Jails Denying Reproductive Health Care

RH Reality Check (Jan. 19, 2016): ACLU Report: California Jails Denying Reproductive Health Care, by Nicole Night Shine:

Incarcerated California women are denied abortion services, prenatal care, and even menstrual pads, according to a scathing American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of California report released Tuesday that finds some county jails deny, delay, and ignore prisoners’ reproductive health care.

Among the issues highlighted in the report:

  • Delayed and denied abortion access
  • Influencing abortion access: Interviews with one jail administrator indicated that jail staff would encourage certain women—those with multiple children or those with chemical dependencies—to have an abortion.
  • Dangerous conditions for pregnant inmates, including denial of prenatal and emergency visits with medical staff and use of shackles on pregnant inmates.
  • Lack of accommodations for nursing inmates.
  • Shortage of menstrual supplies.
  • Lack of safeguards for LGBTQ people.
  • Poor tracking of sexual assault.

The report also urges abolition of policies that limit reproductive health care to women whose gender identity matches their biological sex at birth. It recommends addressing the heightened risk of sexual assault for incarcerated transgender women and providing menstruation pads to all those who need them, regardless of whether the person is housed in a men’s or women’s jail.

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