165,000 women are estimated to be incarcerated in the United States. These are disproportionately women of color, as Black women are incarcerated at a rate two times higher than that of white women. Around 58,000 pregnant individuals are processed into jails, prisons, and other detention facilities in the United States every year. Approximately 6 to 10 percent of women are pregnant when they enter prison or jail, and about 1400 newborns are born to women in custody. This population has been and will continue to face the challenging effects of the Supreme Court’s 2022 repeal of Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization, which further exacerbates the punishment of incarceration for pregnant people.
This post was originally published on the Cardozo Journal of Equal Rights and Social Justice website on November 17, 2023. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.
Fish-Bieler, Hani, "The Roe Repeal Behind Bars: Prison Pregnancies in a Post-Dobbs World" (2023). ERSJ Blog. 59.