Milwaukee, WI — Sheriff David Clarke is a hero to those who cheer on the police state. In spite of his tyrannical acts being constantly exposed, supposed patriots, conservatives, and even ostensible libertarians find themselves embracing this despotic symbol of the American police state. Hopefully, however, this latest lawsuit can help to sway those folks away from supporting this tyrant. Just a few months after a mother was forced to give birth on the floor of a jail cell, resulting in the baby’s death, Clarke’s office is now being sued for more horrifying abuses of women during labor.
According to the federal lawsuit, the Plaintiff, Melissa Hall, 27, “was forced to receive pre-natal care, labor, give birth, and undergo post-partum treatment while shackled, in accordance with the Jail’s policy, custom, and/or widespread practice of shackling all detainees during medical treatment.”
Clarke, according to the lawsuit, “has had personal knowledge that the shackling practices challenged in this case were occurring at the jail.”
When Hall was brought to the hospital to have her baby, she was made to wear a “belly-chain,” according to the lawsuit. This chain went “around her waist with her wrists attached to the waist and her legs attached to one another by leg-irons.”
In spite of hospital staff asking for the chains to be removed, because of the health risks to the mother and child, deputies, under Clarke’s orders, refused, according to the suit.
As the lawsuit states, “During her labor and delivery, Plaintiff’s medical providers asked to have the shackles removed and the deputies refused. As a result of the shackling, medical professionals had difficulty administering an epidural to Plaintiff. The shackling and its consequences caused emotional and physical pain and suffering, discomfort, left marks on Plaintiff’s body, and exposed her to unreasonable risks of harm.”
The shackling of pregnant women in jail is an unfortunate and inhuman occurrence. It is also, as the lawsuit states, widespread — despite the risks posed to the health of both the mother and unborn babies.
This lawsuit, while it only mentions Hall as the single plaintiff, is actually a class action and will eventually expand to represent more than 40 other pregnant women who’ve been similarly mistreated by the sheriff.
As the lawsuit states, “shackling women during labor can lead to: an inability for medical staff to assess hemorrhaging, rapidly perform an emergency caesarean section, or move a woman to address an umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s windpipe, as well as a variety of other problems.”
“Belly chains and leg irons can impact the mother’s balance and increase the risk of falls thereby endangering the life and health of the child,” reads the lawsuit. “Cuffing a woman’s hands may prevent the breaking of a fall and impede a woman’s ability to protect her stomach. Preventing walking during the first stage of labor may deny the woman the benefits of labor acceleration and discomfort alleviation. Preventing walking during the postpartum phase may enhance the risk of deep vein thrombosis and its life-threatening embolic complications.”
An explosive report by the ACLU showed that only 22 states plus DC have laws on the books regulating the shackling of pregnant women. All of these states include language against shackling women in labor, and most have an exception for extenuating medical circumstances, reports Fusion.
However, as Fusion points out, this is the bare minimum. “There are loopholes in at least nine of the states with laws—either no specific language about shackling women during their first, second, and third trimesters; when they’re being transported to the hospital; or postpartum. That means pregnant women are still being shackled in states where there are laws against shackling pregnant women.”
As the police state cheerleaders promote their hero sheriff, they conveniently ignore his practice of treating women like slaves on a ship during their most vulnerable time. In the land of the free, the beautiful and intimate experience of childbirth can be a torturous and inhumane experience for women who may have made a few mistakes — many of which are likely victimless ‘crimes’ like prostitution and drug use.
It’s time to demand an end to this inhumane process and expose Sheriff Clarke for the sick tyrant that he is. Please share this article with your friends and family so they may see the horrid nature of the American prison state.
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