Two women housed in a New Jersey all-female prison have become pregnant after having sex with at least one transgender inmate.
The women, who were not identified, are housed at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility in Clinton, New Jersey. The prison houses more than 800 women, including 27 transgender women.
It is unclear if the same transgender inmate impregnated both women.
There has been no indication of how far along the two inmates are and if they plan to carry the babies to full term.
Edna Mahan began housing transgender women last year following a lawsuit filed by a trans woman and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Jersey.
The prison houses transgender inmates who have yet to complete a total gender transition, meaning biologically functional males are housed with women inside the facility.
On Tuesday, Jeanne LoCicerom, legal director for New Jersey’s ACLU, said the prison’s policies ensured the rights of transgender prisoners were not violated.
“It’s in line with New Jersey’s strong anti-discrimination laws that prevent discrimination and harassment on the basis of gender identity,’ she told NJ.com.
New Jersey PBA 105, the state’s major corrections officers union, initially filed suit to halt the policy change. The union cited a lack of clear rules for handling sensitive issues like cross-gender strip searches.
Robyn Gigl, a lawyer representing the transwoman in the lawsuit, said she believed the policy would “shepherd in a new era in New Jersey prisons of protecting and affirming transgender, intersex, and non-binary people’s lives.”
Edna Mahan, the only women’s prison in New Jersey, does not require transgender inmates to proceed with reassignment surgery to be housed at the facility.
Last year, Governor Phil Murphy disclosed plans to close the facility after officials learned that corrections officers had violently extracted women from their cells and sexually assaulted them. The incident led to the filing of criminal charges against 15 officers.