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    Massachusetts House approves antishackling bill

    The Massachusetts House has unanimously approved a bill outlawing the practice of handcuffing women prisoners to hospital beds during childbirth. The bill approved Wednesday would create a uniform ban on restraining women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery in state and county correctional facilities unless they present a specific safety or flight risk. The bill also creates basic standards of prenatal and postpartum care to ensure safe and healthy outcomes for female prisoners and their newborns. They include standards for the treatment and medical care of pregnant inmates; nutrition, prenatal. and postnatal care; and counseling services. The state Senate has already approved the bill. Governor Deval Patrick supports the ban.