Tell Allegheny County Not to Let Pregnancy Be a Death Sentence
  • Petitioned Rich Fitzgerald

This petition was delivered to:

Allegheny County Council, President
Rich Fitzgerald
Allegheny County Council, Vice President
Dr. Charles Martoni
Director of Legislative Services, Allegheny County
Jared Barker
Allegheny County Council Member
John DeFazio
Allegheny County Council Member
Chuck McCullough
Allegheny County Council Member
Matt Drozd
Allegheny County Council Member
Jan Rea
Allegheny County Council Member
James Burn, Jr.
Allegheny County Council Member
Michael J. Finnerty
Allegheny County Council Member
Vince Gastgeb
Allegheny County Council Member
Joan Cleary
Allegheny County Council Member
Nicholas Futules
Allegheny County Council Member
Robert J. Macey
Allegheny County Council Member
William Russell Robinson
Allegheny County Council Member
James Ellenbogen
Allegheny County Council Member
Amanda Green Hawkins

Tell Allegheny County Not to Let Pregnancy Be a Death Sentence

    1. Alex DiBranco
    2. Petition by

      Alex DiBranco

      New York, NY

Thrown in jail for getting pregnant? That seems like a particularly absurd violation of women's reproductive rights. But it's actually an established policy in Allegheny County, PA: for Amy Lynn Gillespie, becoming pregnant meant violating the terms of her work release probation, and getting thrown in jail. Yet this story comes to an even more tragic ending, because Gillespie died while in custody from advanced pneumonia.

Gillespie's grieving mother has decided not to let the people who allowed her daughter to die off the hook: she has a lawsuit against the Allegheny County jail warden, Allegheny Correctional Health Services Inc., the country itself, and a few other implicated individuals charging that medical neglect caused Gillespie's death. Though the young woman spent weeks complaining to guards of trouble breathing and mucus in her lungs, they refused to send her for medical care until it was too late. The hospital, which is not charged in the lawsuit, says that Gillespie was beyond saving due to the long delay in getting her treatment.

To imprison a woman for becoming pregnant is a violation of her human rights, and should not be a condition of work release. To then neglect her, when the very pregnant condition she was locked up for meant that she needed extra attention, is horrifying. The crimes that got her in trouble with the law in the first place were minor shoplifting (when caught stealing food, she told the police officer she was hungry) and prostitution (which, though illegal, hurts nobody). Amy Lynn Gillespie's unnecessary death is nothing short of tragic, and highlights deep flaws with the Allegheny County prison system.

New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice is organizing to call attention to Gillespie's case.

You can help to protect women's reproductive rights and health by signing this petition telling Allegheny County to remove pregnancy as a work release violation and improve oversight of medical treatment in its jail.

Photo credit: J.K. Califf

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Pittsburgh Woman Dies After Being Jailed for Having Sex

      Charles Davis
      Petition Organizer

      Amy Lynn Gillespie, 18 weeks pregnant at the time, died of advanced pneumonia earlier this year after officials at Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh ignored her worsening health conditions, refusing to even provide her with diagnostic tests,...

    2. Woman Jailed for Getting Pregnant Dies From Medical Neglect

      Alex DiBranco
      Petition Organizer

      Thrown in jail for getting pregnant? That seems like a particularly absurd violation of women's reproductive rights. But it's actually an established policy in Allegheny County, PA. Cara reports at the Curvature that, for Amy Lynn Gillespie, becoming...

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • S L MAPLEWOOD, NJ
      • about 3 years ago

      first of all, THROWN IN JAIL FOR GETTING PREGNANT? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?? second of all, SHE WAS COMPLAINING OF RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS AND MUCUS IN HER LUNGS AND YOU DID NOTHING? classic pneumonia and you let her die. you people just disgust me. it saddens me to think that people like you exist.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Don Cordell LANCASTER, CA
      • over 3 years ago

      Is this the liberty our founders faught and died to preserve a nation with the Bill of Rights? Is this the nation my ancestors revolted for in 1777 to start America the Beautiful.This is a disgrace, and an example of what Law enforcement had become. My Quaker ancestors who struggle with religious rights in PA would turn over in their graves at this injustice. We must ReVote to ReStore our Rights in this nation. I have the solutions, and I have a Birth Certificate showing I was born in the United States,not Kenya.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Angela Sekelsky SCRANTON, PA
      • over 3 years ago

      This is WRONG and ABSURD!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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