Press Releases

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health Applauds Reintroduction of the Stop Shackling and Detaining Pregnant Women Act

Press Release
Washington
Wilmarie Ríos Jaime Phone: (939) 292-8807 Email: Wilmarie@latinainstitute.org

Washington, D.C. — Today, Senator Patty Murray, along with 23 co-sponsors, reintroduced the Stop Shackling and Detaining Pregnant Women Act in the U.S. Senate. The legislation would reinstate the presumption of release of pregnant women and youth from immigrant detention and ban the use of shackles or restraints at any time during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum recovery. In 2017, the Trump administration secretly ended the policy of presumed release of pregnant detainees in immigrant detention, thereby giving Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials the power to determine release on a case-by-case basis.  

Ann Marie Benitez, Senior Director of Government Relations at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), issued the following statement: 

“NLIRH is proud to endorse the Stop Shackling and Detaining Pregnant Women Act to protect the health and safety of pregnant women and youth in detention. By changing the presumption of release—in combination with other recent detention and deportation policies—the Trump administration knowingly put the health, safety, and well-being of pregnant detainees at risk. Despite ICE’s claims to provide comprehensive medical care to those in its custody, reports indicate that pregnant women are being denied dignified pregnancy care, shackled around the stomach, and are suffering other abuses while detained. Just last week, a 24-year-old Honduran woman under ICE custody went into premature labor at 27 weeks pregnant and had a stillbirth at the Port Isabel Detention Center.  

All people have the fundamental right to access the critical health care services they need to make the best decisions for their health, body, and family with dignity and self-determination. No one, regardless of immigration status, should be denied necessary reproductive health care. NLIRH urges Congress to pass the Stop Shackling and Detaining Pregnant Women Act and end the egregious practice of detaining pregnant women and youth. We will keep fighting until ICE is abolished and our communities are no longer in cages.” 

For more information on NLIRH’s fight for health, dignity and justice, visit us at latinainstitute.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @NLIRH. 

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The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national reproductive justice organization dedicated to building Latina power to advance health, dignity, and justice for 29 million Latinas, their families, and communities in the United States through leadership development, community mobilization, policy advocacy, and strategic communications.