Senate District 23
Nickie J. Antonio
Antonio and Lehner's Legislation to Prohibit Shackling Pregnant Inmates Passes Senate
November 13, 2019
Today, state Sens. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) announced the unanimous passage of Senate Bill 18. SB 18 would protect Ohioans by prohibiting law enforcement, court or corrections officials from knowingly restraining a pregnant inmate during the entirety of her pregnancy, including transport and up to six weeks of postpartum recovery.

“I am very appreciative of all who support this legislation as a step towards ensuring incarcerated women in Ohio are given the dignity, health and safety they deserve,” said Antonio. “As public servants, we have an obligation to ensure that the people of Ohio are protected by the rights they are guaranteed in this country; this includes pregnant women who are incarcerated.” 

Overwhelming evidence shows that physical restraints are dangerous to both mothers and their developing fetuses after the second trimester as well as during labor and delivery. During labor and delivery, the practice of shackling can often delay or prevent practitioners from providing medically necessary care.

“This bipartisan legislation is a great step towards protecting the health and dignity of pregnant mothers in our criminal justice system and their babies,” said Lehner. “I am grateful for the unanimous support from the Senate and hope for its quick passage in the House.”

The bill is supported by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitations and Corrections, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, Ohio Judicial Conference, Ohio Commission on Minority Health, Office of the Public Defender, Ohio Catholic Conference and Ohio Justice & Policy Center, among others.

The bill now heads to the Ohio House for referral to a committee.
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