GUILTY: Cruel & Unusual Punishment

There seems to be no end to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals propensity to drive their judicial oversight states back to the dark ages. And that comparison isn’t hyperbole – not when we are talking about a Federal Court that just OK’d the shackling of pregnant women while in labor. If that’s not medieval I don’t know what is.

In concert with Arkansas, the 8th Circuit said it’s OK to violate basic human rights and engage in cruel and unusual punishment directed toward women who are pregnant and about to deliver. In bone-chilling language the Court ruled …

“The policy of placing a restraint on [a woman] while in a hospital bed is unequivocally related to a penological goal and is not constitutionally excessive,” the court wrote. “[her] experience does not rise to the level of unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.”

The Marquis de Sade couldn’t have written more frightening words.

Why are we, as a people, not outraged at rulings like this? Why aren’t we saying “Were tired of this, we won’t take it anymore?”

Get outraged, & get involved in the struggle to protect pregnant women. Call or write the National Advocates for Pregnant Women. Act now.


  1. durchmir
    Posted July 31, 2008 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    The quote provided to illustrate your point – regarding the cruel and unusual punishment of women being shackled during labor -does not directly address your issue. Bracketed inserts into the quote, which are to assert the original author’s intended subject, are fine, but I cannot take the blogger’s word that a woman is the actual intended subject of this quote. It would help the reader if a link was provided to the entire, relevant, judicial text.
    More importantly, the excerpted text does not mention anything about pregnancy, labor or women. It insinuates, merely, that a prisoner who is hospitalized can be shackled without causing cruel and unusual punishment. Do you propose that no prisoner, at all, be shackled while hospitalized?

  2. Roger
    Posted August 1, 2008 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    Link has been provided following @durchmir’s suggestion

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