Shackled While Giving Birth - Police Abuse 287(g)

Last week, Tim Chavez at Political Salsa broke the story of a pregnant woman, Juana Villegas DeLaPaz pulled over by police in Nashville, who was forced to give birth while shackled to a hospital bed. What she did wrong:

“She was pulled over by the Berry Hill Police Department as she left a prenatal clinic. She had her three other children with her. She showed a current car registration but had no license. She also showed a matricular card."

She was arrested.

Some of the details:

* Her water broke while she was in jail; she was transported to Metro General Hospital.

* When the nurse asked her to undress to get into hospital clothes, the sheriff's guard was asked to leave for the moment. He -- yes, he -- refused. So she had to undress in front of him. I don't know about your culture, but in the Mexican culture and Mexican-American culture, that is a highly offensive affront to our women, no to mention our mothers.

* Then, while in labor, she was handcuffed by her wrist and ankle to the bed. I've seen women in labor, and they constantly are shifting positions to try and get some sense of relief, if that is even possible. Now consider the pain if handcuffs prevented your movement.

* Thankfully, the handcuffs were taken off two hours before she delivered. But then she was restrained again in bed a day later. And every trip to the bathroom required leg shackles. When the nurse strongly objected, the sherrif's department stayed absolute. The nurse said the new mother would not be able to clean herself properly with shackles. The sheriff's guard said it didn't matter; he was doing his job.

Didn't we hear that excuse before at Nuremberg? Never forget; we still hardly remember. Our Jewish brothers and sisters deserve better from us.

* It also didn't matter if the baby received the critical mother's milk in its first days of life. The child was removed from its mother, and Ms. DeLaPaz was returned to jail.

* The final injury inflicted upon this CIVIL/MISDEMEANOR offender was the denial of her use of a breast pump to express her milk for the baby and her own comfort. The nurse again strongly objected, but the sheriff's department again played law enforcer, physician and God.

* Ms. DeLaPaz returned to her jail cell in great pain from her swollen breasts. She could not sleep due to the agony.

* Meanwhile, her infant son was taken to a pediatrican. There he was tested and found to have a blood level containing a high measurement of a dangerous chemical that produces jaundice, a yellowing of the skin. My father had jaundice before he died of cancer, so the condition denotes the medical seriousness of the moment. The jaundice was from a lack of breastmilk.

...In Mrs. DeLaPaz's case, it is a mother of three AMERICAN children who was giving birth to her fourth young one. Surely, this area's and nation's supposed "pro-life" forces should be up in arms.

Her crime was being illegally in this nation -- a civil MISDEMEANOR -- and driving without a license -- a TRAFFIC OFFENSE.

So now you know why Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have come to Nashville. It happened in your own backyard. And there is no reason that it won't happen again, next time to another very expectant mother stopped for a traffic offense in the Berry Hill section of Nashville.

Continue following the story at Political Salsa.