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FORGE to head to state capitol for advocacy day

The FORGE group meets in downtown Macon. Photo provided by Adri Rosario.
The FORGE group meets in downtown Macon. Photo provided by Adri Rosario.

The Mercer University Fighting for Our Rights & Gender Equality (FORGE) club is heading to the state capitol for Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity’s (URGE) Advocacy Day March 21.  

URGE, a national organization, oversees collegiate FORGE chapters and facilitates events such as Advocacy Day.

“On Advocacy Day, URGE gathers student members in Atlanta, teaches them how to talk to their representatives and then brings the members into contact with their representatives while the assembly is in session so that we can express our views on issues we are passionate about,” Adri Rosario, FORGE public relations chair, said in an email to The Cluster.

One of the issues FORGE will advocate for is the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act.

“It would eliminate costs for sanitary supplies for pregnant folks postpartum, end shackling of incarcerated pregnant people and support access to doula services,” said Emily Cuarenta, a member of FORGE.

The bill would give female inmates access to medical information “concerning menopause and any other health issue related to being a female,” according to the Georgia General Assembly website.

The health and care of female inmates in Georgia has long been an issue. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigated Georgia prisons and found that many female inmates had been neglected, and some ultimately died due to poor care.

The Supreme Court ruled that inmates have the right to adequate medical care in 1976, according to Corizon Health, but the new bill goes beyond healthcare.

Female inmates would be granted more privacy. Male law enforcement agents would no longer be able to see the inmates in states of “partial or full undress,” or conduct pat-downs. All law enforcement agents guarding female prisoners would be given gender sensitivity and trauma training.

The location of a female prisoner’s family would also be considered when placing her in a facility.

“As an URGE chapter, we believe reproductive justice is for everyone, including incarcerated folks,” Cuarenta said.


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