Reproductive healthcare in prisons in the U.S. sucks.
First, there were prisons that were refusing to allow pregnant inmates to get abortions, even when the women could pay for the procedures themselves. The ACLU challenged the prison policies and won. Twice.
But there are also – and still – problems of women being sterilized in prison — not by force, but by neglect. Women who do not receive adequate gynecological care while incarcerated at a high risk for sterilization because, by the time illnesses such as cervical cancer are detected, they are too advanced to treat any other way. In other situations, women who have gynecological issues that could be treated otherwise are given hysterectomies. Given that many of these women are women of color and given this country’s discomforting history of sterilizing women of color, this should make us all queasy. Feministing has more.