March 05, 2019

Cortez Masto Cosponsors Bill to Protect Pregnant Women from Detention and Shackling

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and 16 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 prohibit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from detaining pregnant immigrants except under extraordinary circumstances, ban the shackling of pregnant women in its custody and set new standards of care and transparency for the treatment of pregnant women and youth.

“Pregnant women need a safe environment and regular access to medical care – they should not be detained. The practice of shackling pregnant women in detention is a cruel and inhumane outrage. Congress must take action to provide safer and healthier alternatives. I’m proud to cosponsor legislation that is centered on the humane treatment of those in detention and that guarantees immigrant mothers are treated with respect and dignity and receive the appropriate medical care.”

In addition to U.S. Senators Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Murray (D-Wash.), Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) also cosponsored this legislation.


The Stop Shackling and Detaining Pregnant Women Act was introduced in response to a decision by the Trump Administration to end an Obama-era policy that presumed the release of pregnant women and youth from ICE custody. There have since been numerous reports of mistreatment of pregnant women in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.

The Stop Shackling and Detaining Pregnant Women Act has been endorsed by the American Civil Liberties Union, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, NARAL Pro-Choice America, The Center for Reproductive Rights and the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF).