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HB 367 Healthy Pregnancies for Incarcerated Women Act!

We at Mobile Midwife believe that every mother and parent deserves a healthy pregnancy, every baby deserves a healthy birth and everyone deserves to bring their baby into the world with dignity. We are calling you now to take action for Birth Justice in Florida Current policy in Florida prisons allows for physical restraining of pregnant, birthing and postpartum women, which denies health and dignity. We are calling for an explicit ban of this inhumane practice. We are calling for the Florida House of Representatives to unanimously pass HB 367 Healthy Pregnancies for Incarcerated Women Act. We need your help!!!

The good news is that HB 367 Healthy Pregnancies for Incarcerated Women Act has passed the Florida Senate and has been added to the Florida House of Representatives calendar. We had an impact last week when it passed the Criminal Justice committee.

We need you now!!! Our goal is a unanimous pass for the bill in the Rules committee on Tuesday afternoon, January 24 at 2:00 pm. Let’s flood the email and voicemail inboxes of the committee members today so that they hear our voices loud and clear before the vote on Tuesday afternoon: Pass HB 367 Healthy Pregnancies for Incarcerated Women Act!

What you can do now:

Here is the text of the bill: http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2012/524

Here is a link with some analysis of the bill.

Here is a sample email
Dear Committee Member,
I know that it's time to make a decision on HB 367 Health Pregnancies for Incarcerated Women Act.
Please vote YES on HB 367 because

(Below are suggested talking points you may use in your emails and messages, or you may create your own)

Shackling doesn’t make good sense.
As the bill states, restraining a pregnant prisoner can increase health risks and the potential for physical harm to the woman and her pregnancy. There is no need for shackling, as the vast majority of incarcerated women are there for nonviolent crimes. Shackling does not make anyone safer; it actually creates more danger for the mother and her baby.

Shackling is bad for medical care.
“The Federal Bureau of Prisons, the United States Marshals Service, the American Correctional Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Public Health Association all oppose restraining women during labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery because it is unnecessary and dangerous to a woman's health and well-being” (from HB 367). Precious time can be lost unlocking and removing restraints, if emergency life-saving procedures become necessary. All decisions pertaining to woman’s body during her labor and birth, should be made by that woman and her healthcare providers. Shackling during labor may cause complications during delivery such as hemorrhage or fetal distress.

Shackling is bad for families.
It is hard enough that most incarcerated mothers are forced to say goodbye to their newborns shortly after delivery. Shackling compounds this by preventing mothers from holding and breastfeeding their babies for the short time they are allowed to be together. Birthing restraints also causes emotional distress and trauma for many.

Shackling is bad for Florida.
California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia have all outlawed restraining during labor and delivery. Let’s not be the last state to ban this inhumane practice. The rights of all of Florida’s citizens, including the incarcerated ones, must be upheld.

Shackling is an injustice and a violation of human rights.
Birth Justice upholds every person’s right to birth in dignity and with respect. It is every person’s right to birth free from chains. State violence in the form of involuntary physical restraints is a barrier to the health and rights of folks in our communities who are locked up. It is the state’s responsibility to ensure safe and dignified pregnancy, birth and postpartum conditions for everyone in state custody. In solidarity with incarcerated women, we recognize that it is time to reclaim our bodies and our lives.

Vote YES on HB 367.

Your name

Rules Committee Members

We thank each and everyone of you. Stay tuned for updates....
For birth justice everywhere,

Mobile Midwife