Pregnant women detained and held in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) say they were denied medical care while in detention.
According to a report from Buzzfeed, the women were ignored, even while miscarrying. One woman, a 23-year-old from El Salvador, came to the United States seeking asylum. She was arrested and detained in San Lui, Arizona. She braved the treacherous journey from El Salvador to the United States when she became pregnant in the hopes that she could provide a safe life for her yet unborn child.
She was four months pregnant while in ICE detention. She began bleeding profusely. She begged the detention staff for help. She was afraid she was losing her baby. She said, “An official arrived and they said it was not a hospital and they weren’t doctors. They wouldn’t look after me.” She went on, heartbroken, “I realized I was losing my son. It was his life that I was bleeding out. I was staining everything. I spent about eight days just lying down. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t do anything. I started crying and crying and crying.”
The young woman asked that her name not be used in the interview as she feared reprisals while she remained in detention and feared for family members. She said that she would not have come to the United States if she knew what would happen. She said, “My soul aches that there are many pregnant women coming who could lose their babies like I did and that they will do nothing to help them.”
A week after talking to Buzzfeed, the mourning mother gave up her attempt at asylum and was deported to El Salvador.
Another pregnant woman said she was provided clothing that was far too small and left her uterus aching and her skin covered in welts. Yet another pregnant detainee said she was subjected to multiple x-rays despite the fact that the Federal Drug Administration specifically warns against using x-ray while pregnant.