These days, it’s hard for Republicans and Democrats to come together on issues, but a bipartisan group of congresswomen in the House seem to have found a topic they can all get behind. A group of bipartisan female legislators want to ban shackling pregnant inmates in federal prisons, according to The Washington Post. They introduced a bill to that effect and on Thursday announced that it would also set the bar for the minimum amount of care both incarcerated pregnant women and their babies could legally receive.
The bill would also create programs to train guards working with the expecting inmates and launch a study that looks into the care of pregnant incarcerated women, according to the introduced legislation. The act will be known as the Protecting the Health and Wellness of Babies and Pregnant Women in Custody Act; more simply, it’s the Pregnant Women in Custody Act.
According to The Washington Post, the legislation would virtually codify into law rules that are already in place under the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Their policy says that pregnant women shouldn’t be restrained unless they are a threat or an escape risk.
The bipartisan bill was sponsored by California Democrat Rep. Karen Bass and Utah Republican Rep. Mia Love. Love wrote about the bill on Twitter, emphasizing the fact that the legislation had support from both Republicans and Democrats. “I’m proud to co-introduce bipartisan legislation (W/ @RepKarenBass (D-CA) to outlaw the shackling of pregnant women and provide a standard of care in federal prisons,” Love wrote. “The majority of women Republicans and Democrats have signed on with us.”
Meanwhile, Bass emphasized that shackling a woman can lead to complications and dangers for a pregnancy. “The idea that a pregnant woman is going to escape anywhere when she can barely walk is ludicrous,” Bass told The Post about the bill. “Shackling women on the wrists, waist and legs is a dangerous practice and a cruel practice.”
More to come…