We Need to Stop Shackling Pregnant Women in Prison—Now.
Imagine a woman actively in labor. Now, imagine her handcuffed. Attached to those handcuffs is a chain that links her wrists to a chain wrapped around her belly. That belly chain is the same weight as a bicycle chain. Attached to her belly chain is yet another chain that attaches to shackles around her feet.
This is commonly known as “shackling” and is a grim reality for many women in the United States. In 32 states, prisons and jails are permitted to shackle incarcerated women during childbirth—even though the American Medical Association says the practice is unsafe, “medically hazardous,” and “barbaric.”
Although eighteen states have enacted legislation prohibiting shackling during childbirth, only six of those states prohibit shackling people during other points in their pregnancy.