Racism, Xenophobia and Misogyny Intersect: Giving birth while in shackles.

This is what an asshole looks like.
In Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s world, this is acceptable behavior.

The most recent atrocity committed by the self-proclaimed “America’s Toughest Sheriff” involves a woman who was detained while 9-months pregnant. Alma Minerva Chacon’s case has been receiving media attention due to the brutality with which she was treated. The very same night of her arrest, Chacon went into labor and found herself afraid and alone, being rushed to a local hospital with her hands and legs chained in shackles.
Once she reached the hospital, nurses repeatedly begged the Sheriff’s staff to allow them to unchain the mother, but they refused and Chacon was forced to give birth while still shackled to the bed. At one point, the nurse asked for them to release her so that she could be escorted to the bathroom for a urinalysis, but even that request was denied. But the worst came once Chacon gave birth to her baby girl.
Still chained to the bed, Arpaio’s police staff refused to allow Chacon to hold her newborn baby and then warned her that if no one came to pick up the child within 72 hours, she would be turned over into state custody.

via Latina.com
This is disgusting. We are well aware that Arpaio is no charmer, tasking himself with attempted eradication of Latinos in his fair state of Arizona, but this is horrifying. Not only is it a basic negligence of a person’s basic human rights, it is a very misogynistic act of control, denying a mother the ability to give birth in a safe and healthy way or allowing her to see her child. You must really hate a group of people to legislate in this way. And well, law dictated by personal feelings of hatred is not really law at all.
It is also worth noting that Arpaio was told by (the notorious!) US Immigration and Customs Enforcement that he will be losing power to carry out the ridiculous extension of federal law given to some local enforcement by ICE.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Friday that they limited the ability of the Sheriff’s Office to enforce federal immigration laws because of the office’s record of conducting wide-ranging crime sweeps intended to identify illegal immigrants. Those sweeps – the Sheriff’s Office has conducted 11 in the past year and a half – have led primarily to arrests of people who have not committed serious crimes. The revamped federal program places a priority on going after dangerous criminals, not illegal immigrants encountered as the result of minor offenses like traffic violations.

An organization that is responsible for some of the most violent attacks on migrants, has told Arpaio, he has gone too far. And his response? That he will stop at nothing to clear Arizona of all illegals.

“”You know what? They can take away anything they want. I’m still the elected sheriff,” Sheriff Arpaio told Fox News’ Glenn Beck this week. “I’m still going to enforce the state laws and I’m going to enforce the federal laws.”

via CSM.
Uh, Joe…you can’t claim to uphold the law and then try and enforce it illegally.
Take action against Joe Arpaio. Stop this rogue sheriff!

Join the Conversation

  • LalaReina

    I could try to register my disgust–but there are no words. I think he’s elected so there’s the answer.

  • Daniel Koffler

    there needs to be a word being both shocked and unsurprised

  • blue

    He’s running for Governor soon.

  • http://www.shshameless.blogspot.com Deborah

    I can’t believe that someone can be so insensistive. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard about this either.
    I don’t know what they think those women are going to do- theyr’e GIVING BIRTH for christ’s sake!

  • saresails

    Here’s the link to the Telemundo story and interview (its in Spanish).
    This is monstrous. This is a crime against humanity, but I seriously doubt it will be treated as such by those who need to.
    Disgusting. I can only hope some organization can help her take legal action against this monster.

  • baddesignhurts

    i live in arizona, and last election cycle, i volunteered for the democratic party here, going door to door trying to get people to vote for arpaio’s opponent.
    on behalf of my state, I AM SO FUCKING SORRY. this man is SUCH a fucking asshole. the list of bullshit this man has done to people is long and upsetting.

  • Lenny

    This is disgusting, how is this man still in charge? I actually feel sick reading this.

  • bluebears

    That is disgusting. It’s time for the federal government to get involved in this case, as this woman’s constitutional rights have CLEARLY been violated.

  • susanstohelit

    This is deeply, deeply upsetting.

  • DeafBrownTrash

    Why is this asshole still in authority, then?

  • cattrack2

    Hopefully this signals that Arapaio’s 15 minutes of fame are now up. This arrogant, blow hard is more interested in finding fame than he is in finding criminals.

  • Toongrrl

    I always thought xenophobia, racism, and misogyny went hand in hand together.
    He talked to Glenn Beck!!! He needs to go down, he’s not fit to be around living beings.

  • Sheri

    Wow. This is absolutely disgusting…he has seriously got to go.

  • earwicga

    Horrible! Is it legal to shackle women in childbirth in the US?

  • JessicaNOWLV

    alisonamber, maybe we could put pressure on our Federal elected officials to make it a federal offense to shackle a woman in labor. That would be awesome.

  • alixana

    I don’t think it has anything to do with fearing that she’s going to do something and everything to do with punishing and dehumanizing her.

  • eli_mh

    This man should be in prison for the rest of life.

  • alixana

    This article from October ’09 shows that it’s a growing trend to outlaw it. It seems to me that this is an issue that would cross the Supreme Court’s table eventually.

  • LN80

    There is a coalition already doing national and state advocacy on this issue and they could use everyone’s support! Learn more about them here at this RH Reality Check article on this issue: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/07/06/giving-birth-chains-the-shackling-incarcerated-women-during-labor-and-delivery

  • LN80

    There is a coalition already doing national and state advocacy on this issue and they could use everyone’s support! Learn more about them here at this RH Reality Check article on this issue: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/07/06/giving-birth-chains-the-shackling-incarcerated-women-during-labor-and-delivery

  • salad_shooter

    It is unfortunately very common for prisoners to be shackled during labor (the only states that ban this are Illinois and California). I agree that there should be federal protections of pregnant inmates.

  • earwicga

    I don’t live in the US and wasn’t clear from the article whether it was legal or not. I agree, it should be a federal offense to shackle a woman in labour!!!!!
    I’ve found this article on RH Reality Check which discusses differences between states and between federal and non-federal prisons: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/07/06/giving-birth-chains-the-shackling-incarcerated-women-during-labor-and-delivery

  • Evrybdy44

    This is disgusting. There really are no words I can find to describe just how much.
    This man has taken “law” and turned it into torture of sorts. He needs to be forcibly removed from his post ASAP! I wish that could be done. . . like yesterday.

  • LucyBell

    I think this post needed a “trigger warning” label. I was brought to tears by this story, especially of not being allowed to hold her child. This is not just some touchy-feeling issue. There are mountains of research that indicate that the first moments after birth are extremely important for both mother and child. Traumatic birth experiences are linked to increased suicide, violence and drug abuse in adulthood for babies.
    “What kind of stress or trauma do babies experience? The emerging field of prenatal and perinatal psychology has taught us that, if the pregnant mother is anxious or depressed, babies can be stressed even before birth.16–18 Furthermore, the birth process itself can be frightening and painful for infants, especially when medical interventions are used. In the absence of emotional healing, early trauma can have a lifelong impact. Studies have shown that complications at birth correlate with later susceptibility to psychological problems, including schizophrenia, drug abuse, depression, suicide, and violence.19–25″ http://mothering.com/parenting/crying-for-comfort

  • earwicga


  • Wolverette

    Shackles??? How the hell is she supposed to flee while pushing a baby out anyway????

  • earwicga

    Snap! I think your comment was in moderation when I posted mine :)

  • baddesignhurts

    the good news is that, when this COMPLETE AND UTTER TOOL was on my campus yesterday (arizona state) for an interview, he was forced to leave by student protesters. :)
    the douche was so petty that, on his way out, he put on a university of arizona (our rivals) hat just to piss off the students.

  • earwicga

    That is good news!!

  • katie

    There is a special place in hell for people like Arpaio. Also, I am a Spanish teacher, and to me, Arpaio could easily be from Spanish decent….

  • Belle O’Cosity

    He has been re-elected five times. He is not the problem, he is a tool of the people electing him. It is useless to go on about him, what about the people giving him this power. He has been in office for almost 20 years and has been acting this way pretty much the whole time. He is very popular. What the hell is wrong with the folks there?