Missouri Legislature Moves To Unshackle Pregnant Prisoners

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Senate has given initial approval to a bill that prohibits pregnant prisoners from being restrained while giving birth.

The proposal, approved Wednesday through a voice vote, would ban correctional centers and jails from using restraints when a woman is receiving medical care during her third trimester, throughout labor and immediately after birth. Exceptions would be allowed if the woman was deemed dangerous or a substantial flight risk.

The vote occurred a day after the Missouri House overwhelmingly passed a similar proposal.

Proponents say the bills would protect women and children. Opponents say the change could endanger law enforcement.

The Senate bill needs to be voted on again before it heads to the House.

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