New York Governor David Paterson promised a group of protesters yesterday that he will sign a bill that will prohibit incarcerated pregnant women from being shackled while in labor. Dozens of women, several of whom have given birth while shackled in prison, gathered outside of Paterson's office wearing handcuffs to demonstrate support of the legislation.
According to the Epoch Times, Paterson said, "the bill is trying to stop...what we think is the inhumane treatment of people who are giving birth, even if they committed a crime, even if they are incarcerated. [We want to ensure] the safety of the child."
Paterson also referenced his concern regarding a provision within the bill that grants an exception in extraordinary circumstances when it is legal to restrain a woman by one wrist to prevent her from injuring herself or others while being transported so that labor can be induced or a cesarean section can be performed. According to RH Reality Check, Paterson will work to amend this provision of the bill, but plans to sign the legislation.
The bill passed in both houses of the New York state legislature and was delivered to the Governor's office yesterday. It stipulates that "no restraints of any kind shall be used when such a woman is in labor, admitted to a hospital, institution or clinic for delivery, or recovering after giving birth."
Media Resources: Feminist Daily Newswire 5/27/09; Epoch Times 8/18/09; New York Senate S. 1290; RH Reality Check 8/18/09