An incarcerated pregnant woman was granted bond at an emergency hearing Friday because she went into labor, her lawyer said.
Elizabeth Gonzalez, whose baby was overdue, was released on a $5,000 bond after Judge William D. Hamblen agreed to let the woman out of jail for the delivery.
Jail staff called defense attorney Tracy Lenox at 11 a.m. Friday and said Gonzalez was experiencing contractions. She also showed other signs of being in labor, Lenox said.
Gonzalez was placed in the Prince William-Manassas regional jail without bond after failing to appear for a plea hearing for fraud-related charges a few months ago, according to her lawyer.
Lenox said Gonzalez missed the hearing because she knew she was going to jail and tried to arrange for someone to watch her three other young children. She will plead guilty to misdemeanor charges, Lenox said.
Gonzalez was arrested Wednesday or Thursday and brought before Hamblen to be arraigned for absconding, or hiding from police.
Lenox said her client — who is in her early thirties — is about 40 weeks pregnant and long overdue. She believes the jail staff was concerned there may be complications because of the long gestation period.
A typical gestation period is between 36 and 38 weeks, according to experts.
“They’re worried she’s going to have this baby inside,” Lenox said. “They have their own medical concerns.”
If Gonzalez gives birth in the jail, the cost of the delivery would be covered by the jail’s medical budget, said Glendell Hill, the jail’s superintendent. Hill said about five pregnant women are brought to the jail each year. Some have given birth inside, he said.
He called the incident “routine” and said his staff was handling it.
If there were complications, Gonzalez would have been transported to the hospital by jail staff, Lenox said. She requested the hearing so the delivery would be easier for her client.
Getting Gonzalez to doctors early will reduce the chances of complications, Lenox said.
She has not spoken to Gonzalez and doesn’t know the sex of the baby. Gonzalez’s husband is worried his and his wife’s fourth baby would be born in jail, Lenox said.