Things That Matter

Police Violated This Woman’s Rights And Dignity When They Pulled Out Her Tampon On The Side Of A Busy Street

On Thursday, the City of San Antonio approved a $205,000 payout to a woman who had been violated by police officers.

Natalie Simms, 40, sued the city of San Antonio, Texas and ex-Detective Mara Wilson — who removed Simms’ tampon despite being told she was on her period.

The unimaginable experience all started when Simms was sitting on a curb and was approached by police.

Natalie Simms, a woman in her late 30s living in San Antonio, wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary as she waited for her boyfriend on that day in August 2016. She was sitting on the curb, her car parked across the street, talking on the phone and minding her own business.

That’s when police officers arrived. They believed she might be in possession of illegal drugs and asked to search her car. After she agreed, they called a female officer to also search her. Even though she didn’t have any contraband, they said she couldn’t leave until she was fully searched by detective Mara Wilson, according to court records filed last year in the Western District of Texas.

Later, Wilson, who allegedly did not have a warrant at the time, asked Simms if she could pull down her shorts.

Out in the public, as cars drove by, Wilson conducted a vaginal cavity search, the lawsuit said. Wilson instructed Simms to “spread your legs,” and asked, “do you have anything down here before I reach down here?”

“Natalie began to realize, with shock, what Officer Wilson intended to do,” according to the lawsuit. “Officer Wilson intended to reach down into Natalie’s pants and made contact with her pubic hair and vagina.”

When Simms told Wilson that she was on her period, the lawsuit alleges that Wilson lied by saying she wasn’t going to reach into her pants but just “look.” Instead, with five male officers watching, Wilson “pulled open Natalie’s pants and underwear.”

The conversation between Simms and Wilson, taken directly from the lawsuit, reads:

WILSON: Uh-huh. Are you wearing a tampon, too?
SIMMS: Yes.
WILSON: Okay. I just want to make sure that’s what it is. Is that a tampon?
SIMMS: Come on. Yes.
WILSON: Huh? Is that a tampon?
SIMMS: It’s full of blood, right? Why would you do that?
WILSON: I don’t know. It looked like it had stuff in there.
SIMMS: There ain’t nothing in there.

Wilson also commented on the amount of pubic hair Simms had and continued to tell Simms they could not go to the police station to finish conducting the search, despite Simms’ persistence, the lawsuit states.

Following the search, Simms sued the city of San Antonio and Wilson, alleging the encounter to be a “blatant violation” of her constitutional rights that “resulted in significant and lasting harm.”

Natalie suffered through a shocking display of what can occur when police power is unchecked. Natalie was humiliated and degraded as a result of the police officer’s actions,” her attorney Dean Malone told local news station WOAI in March 2018. “We intend to seek full damages available under the law and look forward to presenting Natalie’s horrible experience to a jury.”

In a surprise twist to Simm’s case, however, city lawyers offered $205,000 to Simms

The city settled the case before it could go to trial.

“We evaluate cases and look for potential resolutions without the necessity of proceeding to trial.  We were able to resolve this matter with this proposed settlement and believe it to be in the best interest of all involved,” said City Attorney Andy Segovia.

In the wake of the incident, the city nor the police department has issued any sort of apology.

In the wake of the incident, Wilson, who retired in May 2017, stood by the way she searched Simms. “It was really nasty, but I just wanted to make sure there wasn’t anything in there,” she told another detective, according to court records. She claimed she needed to conduct the search because “you don’t know what they have. I mean, they stick all kinds of stuff.”

Women Share The Poor Treatment They’ve Received Because Of Mistreatment By Doctors: ‘I felt the cut from my c-section and screamed’

Fierce

Women Share The Poor Treatment They’ve Received Because Of Mistreatment By Doctors: ‘I felt the cut from my c-section and screamed’

John Moore / Getty

Recently, a post on social media sparked a conversation among Latinas online about the way women of color are treated by health care workers in the United States. A post by a user by the name of @krystinaArielle prompted comments that are truly so eyeopening.

“I keep telling you. It’s not just the police. Doctors treat us horribly and act as if we’re faking. After my c-section they sent me home with no pain medicine. Let me repeat: they cut open my stomach, ripped out a child, and sent me home with nothing,” a user by the name of Kristina Arielle wrote. ” I had to beg one of my nurses for pain medicine as she saw me in pain. My chart even had the time I was supposed to get it. She treated me as if I was a liar. It was a day after surgery and I was just getting feeling back in my legs. I felt everything. When I went back to have my scar inspected my PA looked shocked that it looked good. I go to the post-interview and the assistant goes “they were shocked your scar was so smooth. He usually does an awful staple job on brown women. Its probably because your husband is white.”

When we posted Arielle’s account on Instagram, users were quick to reply with their own experiences.

Some women say such treatment inspired them to get involved in medicine.

“Another reason I got into the medical field, I want to be able to help out by being a female Latina medical provider so that my patients can feel comfortable and safe along with being able to explain things in Spanish.”- ore_yana

Others said they’ve been prompted to avoid any providers who are not women of color.

“All of my medical providers are women of color. I am done with the white male medical patriarchy.” –bella_cin

One woman said that she almost did not survive giving birth.

“This happened to me, dilated at 10pm, gave birth at 3.59 am… left pushing for 6hours. Thank the universe that my daughter was born. Either one of us could have ‘not survived’ the birth.” – auletta.chiquita

Another shared how uncaring her providers were.

“They gave me tylenol to take at home after my c-section.” – _tweedle.deee

A doctor didn’t believe her when she said she didn’t have enough of her epidural.

“An old coworker of mine told me about her 2nd daughters birth. She told drs that the epidural didn’t work and she could feel everything. They didn’t believe her and had no choice but to continue through the labor. She felt everything and she even tore in the process. Against she told them she was in a lot of pain. Drs again didn’t believe her until she told them how many stitches she felt so far as they closed her wound. it wasn’t until then that she said the doctors went “oh shit” and gave her medication. Smh it’s a fucking shame and disgrace that it’s still happening.” – noturmamaciiita

One woman says her doctors during her birth were dismissive of her pain.

“This is true, when my mom had my sister, they put in the epidural wrong and it gave her a really bad headache ON TOP OF having a C-section and the doctors dismissed her pain.” – natalia.oregon

She lost her cousin to the doctors’ lack of care.

“My cousin had diabetes and got an infection after her C-section and died days later 😔 she should have been under medical care for much longer.” – tinnaafaceee

She had nonchalant treatment when she lost a baby.

“I lost a baby in February and I feel that more could be been done. I was just pretty much told I’m in labor and we just had to let it be. It was the most traumatizing moment in my life. I’m pregnant again and so scared to have the same nonchalant treatment I did before.” –maricela.diaz84

And this woman says she was left for dead by her doctors.

“I wish more people knew about this, I nearly died at birth because my doctor left me for dead after I was born with my umbilical cord wrapped around my neck. My papa had to literally save me. Like seriously?! & my mom was bleeding out, the doctor declared me dead at birth and peaced out. It was just me, my mom & dad struggling to survive.” –curlsofroses

This horrifying moment had a woman experience the pain of her c-section.

“I felt the cut from my c-section and screamed even after I kept telling them I could still feel pain while they were prepping me. When my grito was out people ran all over and I was out under (higher risk) because they did not listen.” – jo_trains

The Supreme Court Just Decided To Allow Religious Employers To Deny Workers Birth Control

Entertainment

The Supreme Court Just Decided To Allow Religious Employers To Deny Workers Birth Control

Tim Matsui / Getty

In another battle about birth control, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration has the right to allow employers to refuse coverage for workers seeking to obtain birth control through work insurance plans. Giving employers with religious or moral objections a pass, the Supreme Court made the ruling which is deeply concerning considering how much it infringes on women’s rights.

The decision which had a 7:2 vote marks the end of years of lawsuits over the Affordable Care Act’s “birth control mandate.”

Over a decade ago, the Obama administration made employers offer employees birth control coverage. Since the decision, religious liberty proponents and reproductive rights advocates squared off over which employers should be excluded from that requirement. According to Vice, “Over the years, the government has given churches and other houses of worship, as well as some other employers, ways to skirt that requirement.”

In 2017, the Trump administration issued a set of new rules that increased the number of organizations to refuse birth control coverage.

The change in rules gives private employers with sincerely held religious and moral objections to be exempt.

After Pennsylvania and New Jersey pursued lawsuits over the change and won in a lower court, the Trump administration and the Little Sisters of the Poor appealed to the Supreme Court for an overturned ruling. Justice Clarence Thomas ruled that the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury had the right to create such exemptions ruling “The only question we face today is what the plain language of the statute authorizes. And the plain language of the statute clearly allows the Departments to create the preventive care standards as well as the religious and moral exemptions.”

Conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh agreed with Thomas’ opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts, who has sided with the liberals in various recent cases, also ruled in their favor.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor ruled against the measure.

In her dissent, Ginsburg underlined that the government has an estimated number of 70,500 to 126,400 women who could lose their “no-cost contraceptive services” should additional employers be exempt. “This court leaves women workers to fend for themselves, to seek contraceptive coverage from sources other than their employer’s insurer, and, absent another available source of funding, to pay for contraceptive services out of their own pockets,” Ginsburg wrote.

In May, Ginsburg made history when she called into the arguments over the case from the hospital due to the coronavirus pandemic and her recovery from “non-surgical treatment.”

“You are shifting the employer’s religious beliefs — the cost of them — onto the employees,” Ginsburg told then-Solicitor General Noel Francisco. She also added that women who lose birth control coverage will most likely be forced to find coverage through government programs like Medicaid or pay for their health care out of pocket. “The women end up getting nothing.”