A group of women who were in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) while pregnant have said they were denied adequate medical care.
Five women told Buzzfeed News in a report published on Monday that they were ignored by agents while miscarrying and described both agency’s contracted jailers as unwilling to respond to medical emergencies.
According to the publication, each of the women’s accounts have been backed by statements from legal aid workers, medical workers and advocates who previously worked with ICE detainees.
Buzzfeed News also noted that each of the incidents detailed were not limited to a single detention center. The outlet reported that a handful of medical workers and legal aid sources said they witnessed instances in which pregnant women were denied adequate medical care at more than six detention facilities across California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
In one written testimony provided to the publication by the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), a pregnant woman said she was given clothing that was so tight, she suffered welts and a “pain in [her] uterus.”
Another woman said she underwent repeated X-rays while pregnant despite the Federal Drug Administration’s warnings against.
One woman said she was left to bleed for about eight days after she was told there was no one available at the facility to tend to her.
“An official arrived and they said it was not a hospital and they weren’t doctors. They wouldn’t look after me,” she told BuzzFeed News.
“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.
“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,” she continued.
The woman was reportedly deported back to El Salvador.