Did you know that on any given month there are approximately 500 pregnant women living in Texas County Jails and that African American and Latina women make up a disproportionate number of incarcerated women in Texas? Access to and dignity in perinatal health care is already sorely lacking for African American and Latina women in our state outside of the criminal justice system. It should come as no surprise then that no standard or guidelines exist that direct county jails to provide adequate care and support to pregnant women in their custody. The absence of any directive has deadly consequences for the women and unborn children who are locked up in these facilities. Join Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman Pregnancy Clinic and Mamas of Color Rising as we confront the Texas Jail Commission to demand that standards of care be formalized and that all pregnancies and pregnancy outcomes begin to be documented in jails across Texas.
The invisible life of pregnant women in Texas County Jails
Two years ago, Nicole Guerrero was pregnant and in solitary confinement in a Wichita County Jail cell when she suddenly started having contractions. She was completely ignored despite the fact that she screamed for help and pressed the emergency assistance button for hours. Early the next morning when a guard finally came by her cell, it was too late. Her baby was born a deep shade of purple on the jail cell floor. As some newborns do, her baby needed immediate medical attention and did not receive it. By the time her baby daughter was transported to the hospital, she had died.
Nicole has decided to go public with her case and filed a lawsuit against Wichita County, the County Sheriff’s Department, the private company that provides health care at the jail, and one of the company’s nurses. But many other pregnant women are facing similar situations in county jails throughout Texas, including Travis County.
If you are outraged by the horrible conditions that incarcerated pregnant women are facing in Texas, please join us in taking action!
Sign our call to Action HERE
Formerly incarcerated women and other members of Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman will be testifying on Thursday November 6th at 9am at Texas Commission on Jail Standards demanding ACCOUNTABILITY AND HUMANE STANDARDS OF CARE for pregnant women in jails.
Spread the word to your networks through email, Facebook, and Twitter. Here’s a sample post:
“Because of lack of standards, women in Texas County Jails face deadly consequences. Take Action!
#nobirthinjail #pregnantjailjustice #lockedupinlabor
Make a donation to support this volunteer effort