On August 9, 25-year-old Erica Thompson was arrested after violating her probation – by visiting her mother in another county. Although she was only six months pregnant, she had the same feeling she’d had when it was time for her two other children to come into this world.
Thompson was told she “couldn’t be in labor” when she first asked for help. And when it came closer to time, she started screaming, but jail staff continued to ignore her. It wasn’t until Thompson had already given birth in her cell, alone, that staff finally came to help.
But it was too late.
When she arrived at the hospital, Thompson says doctors returned her infant daughter to her without helping. And that night, her baby, Ava, died.
Contrary to what the U.S. prison system says, Black parents like Thompson are human beings. This means that we have the right to determine what's best for us. We always have the right to advocate for our health, even when they don’t believe us.