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Reproductive Health Care for Incarcerated and Detained People

The Prison Policy Initiative reports that less than 5% of the world’s population resides in the United States, yet 20% of the world’s incarcerated population is held in custody in the United States. People who are detained or incarcerated are in government custody; therefore, their reproductive health care is the responsibility of the federal government. Data on reproductive health outcomes and access to reproductive care for people in custody are scarcely available, making it difficult to fully understand the scope of the issue. However, first-person accounts detailing coerced sterilization, withheld abortion care, inaccessible birth control, substandard treatment of pregnant people and inadequate access to life-saving medicine and gender-affirming care all point to a carceral system that denies reproductive autonomy. People who are incarcerated and detained should have unfettered access to reproductive rights and quality, inclusive health care.