If you can, imagine the many healthcare needs women have based purely on their biology. In our lifetime as women, we deal with menstrual cycles, many of will encounter pregnancy and birth, then later menopause, and so on. We reach stages in our lives where we are need to have gynecological check-ups, mammograms and pap smears. These are not rare or extreme situations; these are average health care experiences that come with being a woman. Moreover, these needs do not change once a woman is incarcerated. The difference is that incarcerated women depend on the state to provide them with the adequate health care and the state is not only responsible for, but is required to fulfill those needs.
Late last year, I began my work with Lift Louisiana as a legal research associate to conduct research and analyze policies related to healthcare access for incarcerated women, including the use of restraints (or shackles) on pregnant inmates.