Amnesty International to Report Abuse of Female Inmates
Amnesty International has uncovered widespread evidence that female inmates in U.S. prisons are subjected to a "double sentence" of rape, unwanted groping and fondling, and other inhumane treatment meted out by prison guards. Michel Forst, who heads Amnesty International in France, said that female inmates are punished both through their court-ordered sentences and "specific humiliation because they are women."
In a report to be issued tomorrow, a New York prisoner was quoted as saying that officers had forced her to perform oral sex on them. Other female prisoners in Arizona told Amnesty International that prison guards had subjected them to "frequent, prolonged, close-up and prurient viewing during dressing, showering and use of toilet facilities."
The report also alleged racial discrimination in imprisonment, noting that the percentage of black and Hispanic women in prisons is wildly distorted compared to their makeup in the general U.S. population. "The rate of imprisonment of black women is more than eight times the rate of imprisonment of white women; the rate of imprisonment of Hispanic women is nearly four times the rate of imprisonment of white women," the report read.
Amnesty International furthers alleges that pregnant women are subjected to "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" both during and after labor. Prison inmates are shackled at the arms and legs while they give birth. The report cites Dr. Patricia Garcia of Northwestern University as saying "Having the woman in shackles compromises the ability to manipulate her legs into the proper position for the necessary treatment," noted that incapacitating the women is dangerous for both mothers and newborns. After grueling labor, women prisoners are then subjected to further suffering. The report noted, "In at least 40 states, babies are taken from their imprisoned mothers almost immediately after birth or at the time the mother is discharged from hospital."
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .