COLUMBUS—State Senators Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) today announced the unanimous Senate passage of Senate Bill 18, which would prohibit law enforcement, court or corrections officials from knowingly using physical restraints on a pregnant woman who has been charged with a crime, convicted or incarcerated.
Under the bill, use of restraints such as handcuffs or shackles, would be prohibited during the woman's pregnancy and six weeks after the birth of her child.
“I am proud of the bipartisan effort to get this bill passed and I am proud of the Ohio Senate for once again taking action to protect the health and dignity of pregnant mothers and their babies," said Lehner.
This practice was also banned in federal prisons as part of the First Step Act signed by President Trump earlier this year.
Overwhelming evidence shows that physical restraints are dangerous to both mothers and their developing babies 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.
“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.”
The bill is supported by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, Ohio Judicial Conference, Ohio Commission on Minority Health, Office of the Ohio Public Defender, Catholic Conference of Ohio and Ohio Justice & Policy Center, among others.
Senate Bill 18 will now be sent to the Ohio House for further consideration.