Mother Gives Birth to Baby Alone in Jail Cell

15 05 2009

Got this story on Feministing.  19-year-old Terra Keil of Dubuque, IA gave birth alone and behind bars early Tuesday morning.  As the Telegraph Herald reports:

Blood covered Terra Keil’s hands, and her cries echoed against the jail cell walls.

But the Dubuque County Jail inmate said she took little notice of her own tears; she was focused on the howls coming from the infant squirming in her arms.

Early Tuesday morning, the 19-year-old Dubuque woman gave birth behind bars.

Keil claims guards ignored her pleas for help and left her to deliver her son alone. Jail officials say the mother never showed signs she was in labor.

“I guess it’s a he said-she said situation,” Keil said. “I know it’s their word against mine, but how does somebody have a baby in jail without anybody noticing?”

The young woman screamed for help, but was not helped by prison guards, and was forced to deliver the child alone.

“I was screaming I needed help, and I even pounded on the door a few times, but nobody came,” she said. “Around 7 a.m., a guard came in and asked me if I wanted breakfast. I was crying and holding my stomach and said that I needed a nurse, but he only said, ‘Do you want breakfast or not?’

“And that’s when it hit me — I’m going to have this baby on my own.”

Keil was arrested on Monday evening for violating her parole.  She was due May 23rd, and the report of her arrest indicated that she was pregnant with twelve days until her due date.  According to Keil, contractions began around 5 AM Tuesday morning.  At 7 AM, a guard asked if she wanted breakfast.  She plead for a nurse, but nobody came until ten minutes after the child was delivered (around 7:22 AM).  She was forced to deliver her own baby while sitting on the metal toilet seat in her cell.

The jail administrator is claiming that protocol was followed, and that it was difficult to tell where the screams were coming from and this is why it took so long to reach Keil. ” … Not knowing exactly where the screams were coming from, we first checked West Drunk Holding cell where there was a female inmate being housed who was being observed for Suicide precaution,” the log states.  The jail insists that when guards discovered the woman with her child and a cell covered in blood, appropriate medical attention was immediately called.

This is so obviously inexcusable, and points to larger problems within the prison system.  The woman entered the jail pregnant and emerged with a child, and the jail did little to protect her or her baby or to even treat either as human beings.  It is pretty fishy that the guards insist that someone had checked on Keil every 15 minutes, but somehow failed to notice that she was in need of medical attention.  Keil says that guards only walked by her cell, but never came in or asked how she was doing. If these “checks” even occurred at all, it is clear that they are dangerously insufficient.  It takes a lot more than ineptitude to somehow overlook a pregnant woman in labor.

“This whole thing is ridiculous.  What if they hadn’t come in when they did? I could have bled to death, or he could have stopped breathing. He could have been taken away from me,” said Keil.  

The child, named Colton John, was taken from the mother (who still has three months left to serve) and placed into foster care.  Keil was transported to another facility to finish her three months time.

FYI, your “organic milk” isn’t actually organic

15 05 2009

My parents have always been skeptical of the whole organic foodstuff, jaded that everything is just an evil industry out to exploit you for money, and therefore food companies mislabel their products so organic food isn’t actually organic, but bearing a sticker or a label claiming to be organic makes people feel better and believe that it’s really organic.

I just read Twisty’s post at I Blame the Patriarchy about how Horizon Organic and its sister company Aurora Organic, both owned by Dean Foods, aren’t really organic.  Gee, it seems that my parents are actually right about something for once!

You see, Horizon Organic produces milk under factory-farm conditions which goes completely against organic regulations.  Not only that but, instead of purchasing organically raised calves, they purchase calves that were born and raised on conventional farms.  Again, this goes against organic regulations.  What’s more, these so-called organic cows are confined and fed a shitty diet of genetically modified grains, slaughterhouse crap consisting of ground up pigs, chickens, dogs and cats, and chicken shit.  Oh, and the calves are weaned on the blood of other animals instead of milk.  Vomit, Vomit and VOMIT!

Dean Foods has been pushing to lower standards for organic food so that they can get away with their industrial, slaughterhouse, un-environmentally friendly bullshit and have it pass as organic.  Which it is clearly not.

Dean Foods also owns Silk organic soymilk.  But since organic doesn’t mean what we think it means, who knows how organic Silk soymilk really is.  (Judging by Dean Foods’ track record, probably not very organic at all.)

Isn’t it great to know that we are, again and again, being lied to?

Murder is not an appropriate or acceptable form of birth control

15 05 2009

The body of five month pregnant Valicia Andrea Demery, 19, was found on the running track at her former high school in Prince George’s County, Maryland.  According to the police, her boyfriend and father of her unborn child, Bernard Bellamy, 20, ran her over with his car.

Garrett Demery, Valicia Demery’s father, said that although Bellamy did not want Demery to have the baby, she still wanted to have it and she wanted him to be a part of the baby’s life.  Prior to the murder, the two exchanged the following chilling text messages:

Her: I really hope you cum to ur senses soon. I didn’t make this baby myself.
Him: I hope u come 2 urs b4 its 2 late.
Her: B4 whats too late?
Him: U will see

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reports that homicide is the leading cause of death for pregnant women.  Most of the victims are young, single, African American women, just like Demery.  Most of the murderers are the men who impregnated the women.

This is horrible, tragic, infuriating, and frankly just sickening.  I cannot imagine the pain that Demery’s family is going through and my heart goes out to them.

Based on what I’ve learned in a Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence class I took last semester, two of the most perilous times for women in abusive relationships are when she is pregnant or when she leaves (or threatens to leave).

It makes me mad that there is such limited media coverage of instances of relationship/domestic violence.  Lately swine flu has been all over the news, but the number of women and children who have been murdered as a result of relationship/domestic violence in the same period of time that swine flu became an “epidemic” are far higher.  Yet, which deaths are we hearing about?

No misogyny allowed at this prom!

15 05 2009

It’s prom season…  A fun but stressful time for many high school seniors who are shopping for dresses or tuxes, searching for dates, figuring out after-prom parties/plans, and celebrating the end of one chapter of their lives with their friends.  For others, it means feminist organizing and activism.

Over at Arcadia High School in California, the badass Women’s Health and Issues Club circulated a petition last week asking students to support the banning of songs containing misogynist lyrics and themes at their prom this upcoming weekend.


From left to right: Vanessa Garcia, Madeline Conrigue and Lani Luo, kick-ass members of Arcadia's Women's Health and Issues Club

One of the members of the club, Madeline Conrigue, said, “Some of the songs call women `bitches’ and `hos,’ or refer to them as objects and treat them like animals.  We find that offensive.”  Another member, Lani Luo, said, “We are not trying to push for abstinence. We are just trying to advocate for respect.”  Sounds about right.

The petition garnered 130 signatures, but it wasn’t easy.  Unsurprisingly, not all students were receptive to this and some thought that the club was trying to ruin prom. One classmate even started a text message chain telling students not to sign the petition.

In the end, the activities director John Tung said that he’d guarantee that 20 offensive songs wouldn’t be played at prom, because monitoring 300 songs to ensure that they were misogny-free would be too hard.  These are the 20 banned songs:

“Shake” – Pitbull
“Get Buck in Here” – P.Diddy
“Drop” – Timbaland
“Low” – Flo Rida, ft. T-Pain
“One More Drink” – Ludacris
“Starstruck” – Lady Gaga
“Go Girl” – Pitbull
“Right Round” – Flo Rida
“Smack That” – Akon
“Lollipop” – Lil’ Wayne
“Get Low” – Lil’ Jon
“Turning Me On” – Keri Hilson ft. Lil’ Wayne
“Rockin’ That Thang” – The Dream
“Beep” – Bobby Valentino ft. Young Jac
“Boom, Shake, Drop” – DJ Laz
“Turn Me On” – Kevin Little
“I’m In Miami” – LMFAO
“A Mille” – Lil’ Wayne
“Bojangles” – Pitbull
“Put that Thang Down” – Ying Yang Twins

I am seriously impressed by and in awe of these young feminists and their work.  I am also pleasantly surprised that a Women’s Health and Issues Club even exists at their school.  If I had tried to start a petition to ban misogynist songs at prom back in high school, I would’ve probably been laughed at, dismissed, or possibly even yelled at for making a big fuss out of nothing.  The initiative, courage, and perseverance of these young feminists is inspiring.