Friday, December 16, 2011

Birth in Shackles

By Kristi Holsinger
This month women in this country will be giving birth to their children while their arms and legs are shackled to their beds. It seems impossible that such a barbaric practice would still be in place, but it is. Women in prison in most states routinely labor and deliver in restraints, increasing the risk of injury and reducing the likelihood of a positive birth experience. Interestingly, most of these women have committed non-violent offenses; many have had more than their share of trauma and difficult life circumstances. The practice is justified as men are often restrained during transports and medical procedures, but this custom is particularly idiotic as anyone who has given birth or observed a birth would know. The odds of a laboring women executing a successfully escape from custody are pretty remote.
This month one woman will give birth to her third child while her arms and legs are shackled. She, however, is NOT incarcerated. She will voluntarily choose this path to draw attention to this inhumane correctional procedure. Her name is Rebecca Brodie, an attorney and advocate who works on behalf of incarcerated women. She plans to use her own birth experience to draw attention to this horrible tradition via a documentary, Throwing Away the Key, to be released this coming spring.
To learn more about her story and how you can become more involved in this issue, please see the following links:

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