Fresh off their devastatingly progressive move to legalize rabbit-dyeing, the Florida House passed another landmark law for human rights by banning, at last, state prisons from handcuffing pregnant women during live birth. Next on the agenda: Outlawing forced marathons for disabled veterans in jail and prohibiting wardens from pouring salt directly into convicts' open wounds.
This is Florida, though, so a legislator from Tampa did vote against the measure. And don't worry: If the jailers decide the mother-to-be is a "security risk," they could still handcuff her during the miracle of life.
Believe it or not, the Florida Legislature couldn't agree to pass a similar measure last year. Presumably, babies were being born to shackled mothers from Krome Detention Facility to the Apalachee Correctional Facility.
Actually, if any pregnant women have ever actually been handcuffed while giving birth in Florida, there don't seem to be any stories on the subject in Nexis or Google.
In fact, the Department of Corrections issued a statement last time this issue was debating claiming that they "do not shackle or otherwise restrain female inmates during any stage of labor" and that doing so "is not reasonable nor is it good security practice."
Still, with the state rushing headlong to privatize prisons and with the fourth largest population of female prisoners in the country, it's probably a good idea to have an anti-handcuffing during pregnancy law on the books just for good measure.
The Senate is expected to pass the House version of the bill, which will head to Rick Scott.
Oh, and the legislator who opposed the bill? Rep. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg.
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