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Mass. bill would bar shackling of pregnant inmates

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts coalition of women’s groups, doctors and human rights organizations are pushing a bill intended to outlaw the practice of handcuffing women prisoners to hospital beds during childbirth.

The bill would create uniform laws in county jails and the state prison system banning the shackling of pregnant women during childbirth and post-delivery recuperation ‘‘unless they present a specific safety or flight risk.’’

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The bill would also set standards for the treatment and medical care for women in jail who are pregnant to help promote safe and healthy pregnancies.

Backers of the bill say that the state Department of Corrections and each county jail currently has its own policy regarding pregnant inmates and whether to use handcuffs or other restraints during the delivery process.

Lawmakers are weighing the legislation.

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