Freedom from Violence, Health and Education, Policy Updates

Progress: Anti-Shackling and Lactation Support Bills Move

by Ashley Lidow on Apr 12, 2019

South Carolina runs on 2 year legislative cycles and we are quickly approaching the end of the first legislative year. Many bills have yet to be heard and will have to wait to be discussed in January 2020 but we have had some great progress on bills that would support pregnant and breastfeeding women.

You may be aware of the Lactation Support Act H.3200 which would provide all women who need to express breastmilk break time in the workplace but you may not be aware that there is a great bill that would ban the use of restraints for an incarcerated person who is pregnant, in labor, during the initial bonding with a newborn, or in postpartum recovery. Both of these bills passed the House with overwhelming support and were able to beat the crossover date of April 10. This means that with strong advocacy the bills have the potential to pass the Senate in 2019 and become law.

WREN supports H.3967, an anti-shackling of pregnant people bill, because restraining a pregnant woman is dangerous and inhumane and can pose undue health risks to the woman and her pregnancy. Restraining a pregnant woman increases their chances of accidentally tripping or falling and harming their pregnancies.  During labor and postpartum recovery, restraints can interfere with appropriate medical care and can be detrimental to the health of the woman and her newborn child.

Many states have addressed this issue but South Carolina is one of 6 states that has no polices in effect banning or restricting the shackling of female inmates in labor.

To take action now on the Lactation Support Act, click here, and for the Anti-Shackling bill, here.

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