In the past, Assemblywoman Jane Corwin (R-NY), the GOP nominee for the special election in New York’s 26th congressional district, called attention to her economic views by declaring that, “we need to create an environment conducive to job creation, that means lowering taxes and removing the shackles on upstate businesses.” But her colorful language about taxation strikes a stark contrast with her position on another type of bondage. She was one of only a handful of lawmakers to vote to preserve a practice that allows prison guards to literally shackle pregnant inmates while they give birth.
Last year, over the objections of Corwin and a few other legislators in the New York legislature, New York banned the practice of cuffing pregnant women as they give birth. The reforms followed a series of explosive articles detailing the inhumane conditions endured by women in prisons across the country. The New York Times detailed several instances where pregnant inmates in New York were bound with heavy chains and shackles even during emergency Caesarean section procedures:
In 2002, Jeanna M. Graves, early in a three-year term on a drug conviction and pregnant with twins while in Bedford Hills, needed an emergency Caesarean section. Ms. Graves said that in the hospital, she was cuffed to the gurney by the corrections officers. The doctors gave her an epidural anesthetic, which blocks sensation in the abdomen and around the pelvis.
“I was cuffed through the entire C-section,” Ms. Graves said.
Yesterday, FreedomWorks — a front group run by corporate lobbyists like James Burnley and Dick Armey — enthusiastically endorsed Corwin, telling Tea Party activists that she embodies a “freedom” agenda. It’s true, Corwin does support “freedom” for corporations to avoid taxes. But when it comes to basic human rights, she seemed to have no problem placing metal cuffs on pregnant women as they tried to give birth.