Pregnancy, Childbirth & Motherhood in Prison

The Perceptions of Pregnancy blog, like the Researchers’ Network, aims to reach beyond boundaries and borders, and to facilitate an international and interdisciplinary conversation on pregnancy and its associated bodily and emotional experiences from the medieval to the modern. Today’s post is contributed by Dr Mary Rogan, head of law at Dublin Institute of Technology.

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Being a Mother In and From Prison under International Human Rights Law

All over the world women go to prison in far fewer numbers than men, but the numbers of women in prison is rising. It is not known how many children have been born or who have spent time with their mothers in prisons around the world.

International human rights law has given some attention to the question of women prisoners who are pregnant or who have children, though bespoke standards for women are still something of a novel development. The European Prison Rules contains a section on women prisoners, and states that prisoners shall be allowed to give birth outside prison, but where a child is born within a prison the authorities shall provide all necessary support and facilities.[1]

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