Dems to propose legislation to prevent ICE from shackling pregnant women

Dems to propose legislation to prevent ICE from shackling pregnant women
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Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Senate panel approves Trump FDA pick | Biden downplays Dem enthusiasm around 'Medicare for All' | Trump officials unveil program for free HIV prevention drugs for uninsured Trump's FDA nominee approved by Senate panel Democrats press Trump officials over drop in ObamaCare signups amid website problems MORE (D-Wash.), along with 21 co-sponsors, on Tuesday introduced legislation to prevent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from detaining and shackling pregnant migrant women. 

The Stop Shackling and Detaining Pregnant Women Act, which has been endorsed by 17 social justice organizations, would prohibit immigration officers from detaining pregnant women in most circumstances and improve standards of care for those in custody. 

"It is absolutely unacceptable that in our country pregnant women are being detained, shackled, and denied the care they need to have a healthy pregnancy," Murray said in a press release about the legislation. "The Trump Administration should immediately reverse course on this heartless and dangerous policy that puts the health of mothers and infants at risk."

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Murray told BuzzFeed she introduced the legislation in response to a recent report from the news outlet on detained migrant women who say they were shackled around the stomach, abused and neglected while pregnant. Several women who spoke to BuzzFeed said they miscarried due to maltreatment. 

"An official arrived and they said it was not a hospital and they weren’t doctors," one woman from a detention center in San Diego told Buzzfeed. "They wouldn’t look after me. I realized I was losing my son. It was his life that I was bleeding out. I was staining everything. I spent about eight days just lying down. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t do anything. I started crying and crying and crying." 

The Trump administration in December ended Obama-era protections for pregnant women. While the guidelines under former President Obama discouraged the detainment of migrant women, the Trump administration now allows ICE to detain women not yet in their third trimester. 

ICE told BuzzFeed they have detained more than 500 pregnant women since December, according to Murray's press release. 

The 21 co-sponsors include Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris posts video asking baby if she'll run for president one day Krystal Ball: What Harris's exit means for the other 2020 candidates Saagar Enjeti unpacks why Kamala Harris's campaign didn't work MORE (D-Calif.), Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenGabbard moves to New Hampshire ahead of primary LGBTQ advocates slam Buttigieg for past history with Salvation Army Saagar Enjeti unpacks why Kamala Harris's campaign didn't work MORE (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGabbard moves to New Hampshire ahead of primary Sanders to join youth climate strikers in Iowa Saagar Enjeti unpacks why Kamala Harris's campaign didn't work MORE (I-Vt.), Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerLGBTQ advocates slam Buttigieg for past history with Salvation Army Harris posts video asking baby if she'll run for president one day Krystal Ball: What Harris's exit means for the other 2020 candidates MORE (D-N.J.), and Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandHarris posts video asking baby if she'll run for president one day Warren hits Bloomberg, Steyer: They have 'been allowed to buy their way' into 2020 race Supreme Court poised to hear first major gun case in a decade MORE (D-N.Y.) 

Warren, Booker and Harris signed onto a letter in April alongside several other Senate Democrats questioning ICE's standards on detaining pregnant women. The letter, addressed to CE chief Thomas Homan, was written in response to the announcement that the agency was planning to treat pregnant detainees the same as any others.

"In light of reports that ICE has failed to provide critical medical care to pregnant women in immigration detention — resulting in miscarriages and other negative health outcomes — this policy change is particularly alarming," the letter reads. 

Booker on Tuesday told BuzzFeed that he hopes Murray’s bill will gain bipartisan support, but even if it does not, “perhaps by bringing this to the public’s attention, it will change practices."