Rep. Watson Coleman Votes to Protect Pregnant Incarcerated Americans

Press Release

Date: Oct. 1, 2022
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Women

Today, Congresswoman Watson Coleman voted to pass H.R. 6878, the Pregnant Women in Custody Act, which directs the Bureau of Prisons to provide more substantial pregnancy and childbirth services for pregnant incarcerated Americans. The Congresswoman is a cosponsor of this bipartisan legislation.

Each year, an estimated 58,000 pregnant Americans are incarcerated. While incarcerated, they lack the necessary health care and nutrition to ensure healthy childbirth. The Pregnant Women in Custody Act addresses this issue by ensuring that federal prisons offer appropriate pregnancy and childbirth services, provide the appropriate training for correctional officers, and end restrictive housing practices for pregnant and postpartum Americans in custody.

"Pregnancy and childbirth are demanding, and they can be almost impossibly demanding for incarcerated Americans. Our criminal justice system lacks the resources and expertise to ensure that pregnant incarcerated individuals have the care they need," said Congresswoman Watson Coleman. "The bipartisan Pregnant Women in Custody Act will assist incarcerated mothers through all stages of their pregnancy. That means not only ensuring adequate childbirth services, but also investing in appropriate nutrition, maternity care, and postpartum services. While much work remains to be done toward building a more humane justice system, I was proud to vote for legislation that would improve the health and wellness of incarcerated mothers and their children."