Attorney Rebecca Brodie to Give Birth in Shackles as Protest

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By emjaybee

Photo courtesy of Jane Evelyn Atwood/Contact Press Images


I came across this amazing project thanks to a writeup by Miriam Zoila Pérez, founder of RadicalDoula and an editor at Feministing.

The proximity of the women’s prison and Brodie’s pro-bono legal work with incarcerated women is what inspired the protest she’s planning for December, when her third child is born. If all goes according to plan, she’ll be laboring and delivering her baby in metal restraints that restrict her arms and legs. She’s planning to simulate the same conditions that many incarcerated pregnant women face when delivering in state prisons and jails, including some of the women housed at the prison right by her home.

Currently, it is legal in 36 states to shackle pregnant inmates during labor and not uncommon to cuff a woman’s limbs to a hospital bed until delivery. Let’s give ACOG full props on this as well: they are adamantly opposed to this practice. (Though I have to wonder what Brodie’s OB will think about her participation). 

“I’m sure you can create your own visual about a woman eight centimeters dilated and in labor. The chances of her getting up and running away are pretty slim,” said Jeanne Conry, a district chair of American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Brodie is apparently also planning a documentary on her protest, to be released next year. 

For more information about the most recent case regarding shackling in labor, please read the documents in the Nelson v. Norris case, this blog post from National Advocates for Pregnant Women, and these posts from Our Bodies Our Blog and RH Reality Check