THANK YOU to all of those who signed on to the Nov 6th call to action from Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman and Mamas of Color Rising to demand that the Texas Commission on Jail Standards implement current minimum standards of care, establish written policies and procedures, and begin to document all pregnancies and pregnancy outcomes.
Our action was successful in bringing these issues to the top of the agenda! Our members testified and shared the story of Shela Williams, who after receiving inadequate care in Travis County Jail had a miscarriage this past summer. We offered a strong rebuttal to the Commission’s claim that it can not provide pregnant women with adequate medical care in all county jails due to lack of doctors in some rural counties, by proposing that midwives serve as alternative providers. We also presented a set of recommendations for care to serve as a starting point for written policies and procedures. Your support strengthened the voices of the formerly incarcerated women and other Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman members who testified at the hearing! 177 individuals and 23 organizations* officially signed on to the letter we presented to the Commission. The Commission members stated that they are seriously considering our recommendations. We will be continuing the pressure at the next Public Hearing of the Texas Jail Commission on February 5, 2015.
IN THE MEANTIME, AS MOTHERS WE STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH ALL OF THE MOTHERS, FAMILIES, AND COMMUNITIES ORGANIZING TO CHALLENGE POLICE BRUTALITY AROUND THE COUNTRY. This is not a new issue, but the powerful response from social movements is bringing mainstream awareness to the racist violence of law enforcement. We see the abuses of law enforcement and ICE as interconnected with the negligence, mistreatment and cruelty faced by incarcerated pregnant women. The systemic failure of US criminal justice is becoming apparent. THESE ARE ALL EXAMPLES OF A SYSTEM OF STATE VIOLENCE THAT DOES NOT VALUE BLACK AND BROWN LIVES. Please support the families by taking action in your local cities. If you are in Austin, join us this Saturday, December 13th, at the rally for the National Day of Action Against Police Violence at the Texas State Capitol, South Entrance at 12 noon.
Thank you for your support and participation.
We hope to see you at the next hearing as we escalate our demands for humane care for pregnant women in Texas jails.
In the meantime, please consider making a donation
to support this volunteer effort.
* list of organizations that signed on:
Amnesty International USA
Association of Texas Midwives
La Reunion Cooperative Austin Texas
Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity
Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman
National Advocates for Pregnant Women
National Association of Certified Professional Midwives
Open Arms Perinatal Services
Rise Up Texas
Son en Movimiento
Texas Jail Project
Texas Equal Access Fund
Texas Women’s Council
The Afiya Center
Wisconsin Guild of Midwives