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    Posted June 26, 2014 by

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    Phl to ban handcuffing of pregnant detainees

    HANDCUFFING or shacking of pregnant women prisoners could soon be prohibited under a bill providing them decent living conditions and regular access to reproductive health care.
    Under House Bill 4541 authored by Rep. Samuel Pagdilao, a pregnant detainee shall be screened and assessed for pregnancy by any competent public health authority and shall be informed of any necessary medical tests connected with the pregnancy screening prior to the administration of such tests.
    A pregnant detainee shall receive counseling and written material, in a form the detainee or prisoner can understand, on pregnancy options and the detention facility and prison's policies and practices regarding care and labor.
    Likewise, a pregnant and postnatal inmate shall be provided regular prenatal and postnatal medical care at the detention facility in which she is housed.
    The bill provides transportation to and from visits to a government hospital or any accredited hospital and court proceedings during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy or during post-delivery recuperation for the pregnant detainee.
    A pregnant detainee shall receive labor and delivery care in any government hospital or any accredited hospital of her choice provided that the detainee shall shoulder the cost of the services, and shall not be removed to another penal institution for the purpose of giving birth.
    Moreover, a detainee who is in any stage of labor or delivery shall not be placed in restraints at any time, including during transportation. The correction officer present in the room during the pregnant detainee’s physical examinations, labor or childbirths, shall be female.
    In cases where an inmate is restrained, the leg or wrist restraints shall not be used on a pregnant or post-delivery detainee. She shall remain in the hospital during post-delivery recuperation until such time that the attending physician certifies she may be safely discharged and transferred back to the correction facility.
    Detention facilities and prisons housing female inmates shall ensure that at least one member of the said facility is trained in pregnancy-related care and knowledgeable in prenatal nutrition, high-risk pregnancy, addiction and substance abuse during pregnancy and childbirth education.
    Pagdilao said it is public knowledge that detention and prison facilities in the country are among the worst in the region.
    "Due to the deplorable conditions of our detention facilities and prisons, pregnant women in those facilities are more likely to have high-risk pregnancies, considering that they are likely to have less access to reproductive health care," Pagdilao said.
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