At least five pregnant women who were in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said they were ignored and denied adequate medical care by federal immigration agents when they suffered miscarriages, Buzzfeed News reported on Monday.
The women told the publication that they were ignored by agents while miscarrying and “described their CBP and ICE-contracted jailers as unwilling or unable to respond to medical emergencies, and recounted an incident of physical abuse from CBP officers who knew they were dealing with a pregnant woman.”
Each of their accounts has been backed by statements from legal aid workers, medical workers and advocates who previously worked with ICE detainees, according to Buzzfeed.
Buzzfeed also reported that several 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 written testimony provided to the news outlet by the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), one pregnant woman said she was given clothing that was so tight, she suffered welts and a “pain in [her] uterus.”
Another woman also claimed to have undergone repeated X-rays while pregnant despite the Federal Drug Administration’s (FDA) warnings against.
One woman who suffered a miscarriage told Buzzfeed that 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 medical emergency.
“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 deported back to El Salvador.