A woman evacuating Kabul went into labor on an American flight out of Afghanistan on Saturday.
Flying on a military plane heading for Ramstein Air Base, Germany, where thousands of Afghan refugees are being housed in tents, she started experiencing “complications due to low blood pressure,” according to a statement from U.S. Air Mobility Command.
“The aircraft commander made the decision to descend in altitude to increase air pressure in the aircraft, which helped stabilize and save the mother’s life,” the statement continues.
When the aircraft landed, medics boarded the plane and delivered the baby in the plane’s cargo bay before transporting her to a nearby hospital. Both mother and baby are said to be in stable condition.
The woman is just one of the reported 17,000 people who have been evacuated from the country since Aug. 14, when the Taliban took two cities, and when the U.S. began escorting civilians out of Kabul.
This near-disaster—a woman having labor complications while fleeing an authoritarian regime—is a reminder that the geopolitical crisis is also a potential reproductive one, too. The consequences of more than two decades of American interference have upended Afghan women’s lives virtually overnight. This, despite many white feminists, for example, propping up U.S. invasion under the guise of supposed “liberation” for women in the region. But the women and girls on flights out of their country face uncertain futures. Many of them will inevitably be pregnant, or parenting small children, and facing the prospect of living in temporary camps and shelters for weeks or months.
The U.S. is preparing to accept thousands of refugees, many of whom will be sent to Fort Worth, Texas, where more than a thousand migrant children are currently being housed. These facilities are usually overcrowded and unsafe in a dozen different ways, and reproductive and maternal health needs are often the first to be neglected by officials.
What of those left behind?