An anonymous 27-year-old woman has filed a lawsuit against the NYPD after she suffered an alleged traumatic experience in their custody. In February of last year, the woman went into labor while in a holding cell. She was transported to the hospital to give birth. She states that the officers forced her to give birth while shackled and handcuffed despite her own objections and the objections of the doctors. After struggling for an hour, the officers did agree to remove some of the restraints.
Doctor's notes stated that police said the woman must remain in restraints despites for the remainder of her hospital stay. She remained handcuffed to the bed for 9 hours while waiting to be arraigned for "violating a protective order" - a charge she claims came from an ongoing custody dispute. She is now suing for damages relating to a violation of civil rights and is asking the police department ensure a situation like hers never occurs again.
The American Medical Association and The American College Of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have found that using restraints on pregnant women can create complications during delivery and impede doctor's ability to do their jobs. The National Commission On Correctional Health Care is also strongly opposed to the use of restraints on pregnant women. In 2009, it became illegal in the state of New York to shackle women who are in labor.
The woman says she felt "humiliated and traumatized." In a statement, she said: "I haven't made sense of it myself and I'm not ready to explain it to my child." Meanwhile, her lawyer claims that the police choosing to carry out their actions after objections from doctors shows "that they don't have any humanity."
Given the legal ramifications, how could this happen? Do you think the laws against handcuffing women in labor are necessary and helpful? In her suit, the woman urges the police to ensure this situation never happens to another woman. What can be done to accomplish that?