Advocates call for inquiry after woman gives birth to baby in Ottawa jail cell


OTTAWA – The Elizabeth Fry Society is calling for a public inquiry into health-care services provided to inmates after a woman gave birth in an Ottawa jail cell without the help of a doctor.

The group’s director, Bryonie Baxter, says a systemic review of the prison system is needed to begin changing a culture that sees inmates treated as less than human.

Julie Bilotta, a 26-year-old woman from Cornwall, Ont., gave birth to a boy Sept. 29 on the floor of a cell at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre.

Baxter says Bilotta’s screams for help while she was going into labour were ignored for hours and paramedics were only called after a baby’s foot was seen coming out of the woman in a breech birth.

Madeleine Meilleur, Ontario’s minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, says an internal investigation is looking into the incident to determine whether proper procedures were followed.

The minister adds that pregnant inmates should expect to receive the same level of care as women in the general population.

Baxter has also formally complained about the incident to the College of Nurses of Ontario and to the Ontario ombudsman.

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Advocates call for inquiry after woman gives birth to baby in Ottawa jail cell

  1. I expect the pro-life people will be all over this one.

  2. Wow! I am not sure what happens in Ontario but in Alberta there are nurses working in the prisons and there is NO reason you cannot send a prisoner with guards to a hospital ER for emergency care. This should and will be investigated and the crap with hit the fan. People need to take responsiblity for the choices the make in the workplace. They need to do their jobs properly. If they don’t want to work with inmates and provide them with empathetic care, they shouldn’t work in a prison.

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