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Monday, October 18, 2010

White Pro-Lifers on Undocumented Mothers: Hypocrisy and Racism (2009)

What crime would you assume a woman committed to deserve to be shackled while giving birth, to not be able to hold her child, and to have to bare the pain of the increasing breast milk that would not go to feed her newborn? What if she was not convicted of anything at all?

This is what happened to Alma Chacón in October. It took a while for me to hear about this, surprisingly. But apparently it has happened to another woman in MCSO custody just this past week (update: this was covered January 5 in the New Times).

Chacón was likely a victim of racial profiling, had no driver's license due to being undocumented, and owed some fines. She had not been convicted of anything, and even if she had been convicted of a felony, she certainly did not deserve to be treated like an animal (animals don't deserve to be treated this way either).

According to Pregnant Latina Says She Was Forced to Give Birth in Shackles After One of Arpaio’s Deputies Racially Profiled Her,

"The officer chained me by the feet and the hands to the bed," she said. "And that's how my daughter was born."...

Chacón stared at her daughter as nurses cleaned her. It was a precious eight minutes, she said. But they didn't allow her to hold the baby.

When questioned later about the incident, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said, "I wasn't the one who kept her from holding the baby. Ask the hospital."

Sheriff's Office policy states that jail inmates be restrained for "security reasons in an unsecured facility," said Jack MacIntyre, an MCSO deputy chief. McIntyre said a 12-foot chain link was attached to Chacón's leg.

"Let's assume someone is faking labor — that's a hypothetical — and she then chose to escape and hit or assault the hospital staff," McIntyre said. "She could do that easily because it's an unsecured area."

Sentenced, pregnant state prison inmates are treated better than un-sentenced ones in Maricopa County jails. Arizona Department of Corrections policies state: "A pregnant woman will not be restrained in any manner while in labor, while giving birth, or during the postpartum recovery period."

The treatment of Chacón mirrors the general experiences of people in jails, detention centers, and prisons, but especially exemplifies the degrading treatment of undocumented people.

It also reflects an attitude about immigrant women who have children in the United States, like the derogatory term "anchor babies".

A few weeks ago, I came across an article about US-based doctors advertising in Mexico about their obstetrics services.

This was especially interesting:
Steven Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors strict enforcement of immigration laws, said authorities should crack down on these doctors who are putting greed ahead of the best interests of their own country.
Just publishing the names of the doctors would likely bring the practice to a halt, he said.
This is reminiscent of efforts to repress abortion doctors. But it would seem contradictory that people would want to keep abortion doctors from doing what they're doing, and obstetricians from their work as well.

There were various comments on the article that exemplified the hysteria about Mexicans having children in the US, such as this one:
This Quacks address / office is at 494 N. Carondelet Drive in Tucson.... We need to hold a mass rally and PROTEST this situation!! This is as bad as actually INVITING a foreign pregnant national to come to the USA for childbirth and therfore securing US Citizenship for that baby which will lead to more Mexicans coming in...And so on and so forth!!
There are plenty of examples of people who are both anti-immigration and pro-life. Nearly any conservative politician like Russell Pearce, for example, will have typical conservative stances. What are they trying to conserve? The white race?

Thanks to the Feathered Bastard, I have a bit more evidence that this is the case, at least for some people. Aborting and Importing – Is Immigration the Replacement for Native Born Population? contains the following:
Unlike any culture in history, we are aborting our children. Have we bought into the Self-Hate so much that we are committing a protracted national and cultural suicide?
America can you handle the CHANGE? You’ll have to. Consider once again that we are aborting our native born population and importing their replacements. The numbers speak for themselves...

Why does it matter when the whites become a minority? If we are moving towards a color blind society, it should not. Yet there it was in big headlines on Yahoo.

Please understand, [the author] is not really concerned about daily life in the North American Union much after 2040. For me the point is moot. My hope is to bequeath to posterity an independent, sovereign and color blind United States in which the innocent unborn native population will realize the American Dream. Unchecked immigration is no substitute for a healthy birthrate.
Clearly, the author of "Aborting and Importing" is not quite hiding his concern for the white race. Funny how "native population" seems to imply anything but people indigenous to this continent.

Certainly even if white "pro-lifers" deny any racism, where was/is the outcry when women of color get sterilized in the many many examples in which they have?
During the 1970s, it is estimated that up to 60,000 Native American women and some men were sterilized...Puerto Rican women were also sterilized at astronomical rates by U.S. tax dollars. During the same time, several Mexican American women were sterilized at a County hospital without much explanation or information. A national fertility study conducted by Princeton University found that 20 percent of all married African-American women had been sterilized by 1970. (Source).
What about the violence against communities of color (wars, police violence, environmental racism) and the very high infant mortality rates? Yes, keeping women in general from having abortions would keep all women from having abortions, but for the reasons listed above, and others, I doubt anti-choice efforts are intended to maintain or increase the level of reproduction among people of color.

If all life is truly respected- even if we're talking only about the lives of babies- then we would see a drastically different world: one in which people do not defend their colonialist consumerist patriarchal culture against people with darker skin and different languages.

See also my posts on overpopulation and On "The Terrorists Who Aren't on the News".


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