One of the biggest hurdles pregnant women in jail have had to face is securing the right to have a dignified labor and childbirth process. Most have to endure grueling pain while exposed in a room with a law enforcement escort and with their legs shackled together – even as the newborn was exiting the birth canal.
Currently, 13 states outlaw the practice of shackling pregnant state prisoners. Federal law already prohibits prisons from doing this to women inmates. Thirteen other states have introduced bills to ban the practice, as well. Those states include California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.