Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and 18 additional senators, introduced the Stop Shackling and Detaining Pregnant Women Act to protect the health and safety of pregnant women and youth in immigration detention. This legislation will reinstitute presumption of release of pregnant women and youth, prohibit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from shackling pregnant women in its custody, and set new standards of care and transparency for the treatment of pregnant women and youth.
The Stop Shackling and Detaining Pregnant Women Act was introduced in response to a March 2018 decision by the Trump Administration to end an Obama-era policy that presumed the release of pregnant women and youth from ICE custody. The Administration has since detained more than 500 pregnant women and there have been numerous reports of mistreatment of pregnant women in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.
“Detaining and shackling pregnant women and denying them the care they need is far below the moral standards of this country. The Trump Administration’s reversal of ICE’s previous policy of presumed release is cruel and unnecessary given the availability of safer and healthier alternatives to detention for pregnant women,” said Cortez Masto. “I am proud to cosponsor legislation that would reverse this administration’s inhumane policy and ensure that pregnant women and youth are treated with compassion and are provided quality medical care.”
The legislation is cosponsored by U.S Senators Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Senator Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.), Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Senator Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).
A full text of the bill can be found here.