It’s unusual to hear of good news from the war on women coming out of Florida, but there is some. Last week Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed a bill that establishes humane and uniform rules for the treatment of pregnant women who are incarcerated in any jail, prison or detention center in Florida.
Women’s health advocates are calling the bill historic since it is the first of its kind in the South.
The legislation was sponsored by state Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa and Rep. Betty Reed, D-Tampa. A similar bill was introduced last year but couldn’t pass a final vote in the House.
Among the protections guaranteed to pregnant women who are incarcerated are prohibitions on shackling women while they are in labor an d a series of best practices for treating women at every stage of pregnancy.
The need for the legislation became apparent when Florida received an “F” for its shackling policies by the Rebecca Project for Human Rights in 2010. Any state that failed to “comprehensively limit, or limit at all, the use of restraints on pregnant women during transportation, labor and delivery and postpartum recuperation” received a failing grade from the group.
Thirty-six other states also received failing grades which means that Florida is not just a leader in the South, they are a leader across the country on the issue of humanely treating incarcerated pregnant women. That shows just how far we have yet to go.
Photo from one tiny spark via flickr.