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In 2012, Nicole G. was left to give birth alone in a Texas jail cell. Her baby’s umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and the baby died.

This week, the county government decided to settle Nicole’s lawsuit rather than take its chances in court. The settlement “saves my client a lot more anguish that she would be faced with going through the trial process,” said her lawyer, Rick Bunch.

Nicole’s story catalyzed a coalition campaign for better treatment of pregnant women in jail, bringing new activists to join the work of long-time advocates Texas Jail Project and ACLU of Texas.

Earlier this year, a new law took effect to require more oversight of jail medical policies as well as reports on pregnancy outcomes among women held in jail.

On Human Rights Day, we bear witness to the experiences of women like Nicole and so many others who struggle to get the health care they need in prison and jail, in the country that has five percent of the world’s women but almost one-third of the world’s women prisoners.

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