2 thoughts on “Reproductive Healthcare for Female Inmates

  1. A few thoughts on reproductive health care while incarcerated…

    Reproductive health and contraception, have been largely overlooked or seen as unnecessary expenditures.
    *The basis for this is an understanding that the need for contraception is obviated by the facility rules prohibiting sexual activity – between offenders / staff / staff & offenders

    The United States incarceration of female inmates has increased
    *However, the fact is less relevant that the necessity for appropriate health care and appropriate policy

    The carceral system is not the only environment where women have access to reproductive care.
    *There are a number of access points in community that are most often used by the population at risk for incarceration. Family planning, community free clinics and other programs.

    The corrections system in a unique position to address all public health needs of this population. While there may be studies and data that support offenders’ desire to begin or continue contraception while incarcerated.
    *However, practical difficulties arise from inadequate funding, policy and procedure designed to limit available health care – medically necessary vs medically indicated; and administrative approach of the facility and political oversight.

    Studies of offender wishes to initiate contraception while incarcerated; while germane does not impact the fiscal or administrative / political approach.
    *A change will require modification of correction standards and a change in funding.

    The evidence that a large percentage of incarcerated females do not wish to become pregnant.
    *Should result in a change in behavior. No matter the social, political, religious or other beliefs – the most effective method for a reduction in (undesired) pregnancy is not participating in intercourse. The common argument involves rape and incest – which results in a pregnancy rate of 5%. Abortions resulting from rape comprise 1% and incest 0.5%.

    The right to have access and autonomy over one’s reproductive health, should be available to all women regardless of incarceration status.
    *While this is a laudable approach it does not consider that the average length of stay in jails is 11 – 14 days (with exceptions) and imprisoned women are provided appropriate care in most situations. That autonomy should begin with a decision to participate and / or take precautions

    Direct and indirect costs, estimated over 90 billion dollars annually (2017).
    *The costs presented, though real, are not the result of incarceration or health care while incarcerated. Rather they are the result of life situations / society and choices by the individual. Offenders are products of their environment and their response to it. Solutions for that are rarely found in/ provided by ‘correction’ facilities. The most hopeful change seems to be coming from increased efforts in the area of discharge planning.

    For the most part; jails will continue ‘birth control’ [personal note – a misnomer should be called pregnancy prevention] for short stays and when used for other medical indications. *The later is dependent upon the efforts of health care staff to obtain community records.

    Despite the comments (preceded by *) appropriate health care for all offenders should always be provided – with compassion

    • Alfred, Thank you for providing an expanded perspective on this topic. Fresh insight is always welcomed and beneficial for further understanding.

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