View Full Version : Woman Jailed for Getting Pregnant Dies From Medical Neglect

Magda Hassan
11-25-2010, 10:22 AM
Thrown in jail for getting pregnant? That seems like a particularly absurd violation of women's reproductive rights. But it's actually an established policy in Allegheny County, PA. Cara reports at the Curvature that (http://thecurvature.com/2010/11/18/woman-jailed-for-becoming-pregnant-then-died-from-lack-of-medical-treatment/), for Amy Lynn Gillespie, becoming pregnant meant violating the terms of her work release under probation, and getting thrown in jail. Yet this story comes to an even more tragic ending, because Gillespie died while in custody from advanced pneumonia. Gillespie's grieving mother has decided not to let the people who caused her daughter's death off the hook: she has a lawsuit against the Allegheny County jail warden, Allegheny Correctional Health Services Inc., the county itself, and a few other implicated individuals charging that medical neglect caused Gillespie's death. Though the young woman spent weeks complaining to guards of trouble breathing and mucus in her lungs, they refused to send her to access medical care until it was too late. The hospital, which is not charged in the lawsuit, says that Gillespie was beyond saving due to the long delay in getting her treatment.
Gillespie should not have been in jail in the first place: to imprison a woman for becoming pregnant is a violation of her human rights, and should not be a condition of probation or work release. To then neglect her, when the very pregnant condition she was locked up for meant that she needed extra medical attention, is horrifying. The crimes that got her in trouble with the law in the first place were minor shoplifting (when caught stealing food, she told the police officer she was hungry) and prostitution (which, though illegal, hurts nobody). Amy Lynn Gillespie's unnecessary death is nothing short of tragic, and highlights deep flaws with the Allegheny County prison system.
New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice (http://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Voices-Pittsburgh-Women-of-Color-for-Reproductive-Justice/205919830691) is organizing a march to take place tomorrow, Novemeber 23rd, at noon outside the Allegheny County Courthouse and Jail. In a press release reprinted at The Curvature (http://thecurvature.com/2010/11/22/tuesday-march-in-pittsburgh-in-response-to-the-death-of-amy-lynn-gillespie/), the advocacy organization states, "The death of any pregnant woman from preventable causes is reproductive injustice and is especially egregious in the custody of the Allegheny County Jail. We challenge the coercive and intrusive practice of conditioning work release on not getting pregnant. We must expose the criminalization of women and pregnancy as a threat to Human Rights that risks women’s health and women’s lives." Efforts earlier this year by the organization's The FOCUS on Women Campaign helped to pass a Senate bill banning the shackling of women during birth (http://womensrights.change.org/petitions/view/stop_barbaric_shackling_of_pregnant_women) (it needs the support of the House to pass).
You can help to protect women's reproductive rights and health by signing this petition telling Allegheny County to remove pregnancy as a work release violation and improve oversight of medical treatment in its jail (http://womensrights.change.org/petitions/view/tell_allegheny_county_not_to_let_pregnancy_be_a_de ath_sentence).
http://womensrights.change.org/blog/view/woman_jailed_for_getting_pregnant_dies_from_medica l_neglect

Peter Lemkin
11-25-2010, 10:51 AM
There really is no depth of depravity American and its parts don't dip deep into now.....the Empire is Crumbling and the neofascist police state is its last gambit....but in its death pangs many millons around the world will die and suffer; within the country a few million will die and most already start to suffer - and the suffereing will increase rapidly and dramatically in the ways and numbers it effects. Very sad to read these kinds of reports with are not freak stories..but the 'norn' now. Most executed and life-convicted persons are innocent; poverty brings injustice; being non-white brings injustice; injustice brings injustice; the system and its corrupt oligarchy bring injustice; unjust laws bring injustice; courts packed with hateful judges and prosecutors bring injustice; prisons bring injustice; propaganda brings injustice; war brings injustice; phony wars (such as on 'terror') bring injustice; police brutality brings injustice; stealing from the poor and giving to the rich IS injustice; privalage is injustice; lack of national health care is injustice; homlessness is injustice; bigotry and insane hate groups bring injustice....and I could go on....it is a sytem gone mad....but designed to do exactly what it is doing. :viking: It must be stopped!