Pregnant women’s encounters with border hardening

brandy-1Migration of pregnant women is on the rise and the tactics countries engage around border security is putting these women at risk. Arguing pregnant women are unduly affected by tragedies at sea, time in detention centres, and legal ramifications, BOb graduate student Brandy Cochrane challenges state security being prioritized over human rights obligations in a recent blog post titled ‘Expecting with unexpected consequences: Pregnant women’s encounters with border hardening’ for Border Criminologies at Oxford University.

“The physical risks which migrants encounter, from drowning to dehydration in the desert, are not simply sad accidents or the result of unprepared states in the face of waves of migrants. These harms are the outcomes of state policies around the border. Referred to as ‘border hardening’ such policies include deterrent-based measures such as civil actions, disparate treatment, technological tools, and interventions outside geographical borders. This border hardening has an adverse effect on those who attempt to traverse this line with particular consequences for pregnant women.”

Affecting the health of mothers and the unborn children, she has found the harsh journeys create serious consequences such as miscarriage and stillbirths. This blog post is part of Brandy’s broader PhD research project hosted by The Border Crossing Observatory ‘Pregnant women’s encounters with border hardening’ under the External Border Control research agenda. The project investigates how pregnant migrant women negotiate their security, agency and mobility while travelling irregularly in the face of the hardened borders of Australia.