Advocates have long suggested making shackling incarcerated people during childbirth illegal. Yet exceptions would likely still allow prison personnel to implement restraint and leave clinicians no course for freeing a patient. This article argues that clinicians' assessments of laboring individuals' clinical needs must be prioritized, ethically and legally. This article also explains that, without strong policies in place, some clinicians will not feel empowered to demand that a patient be freed during labor. Beyond prohibiting restraint of laboring individuals, health care organizations must support clinicians seeking to execute their ethical duties to care well and justly for patients. Toward this end, this article proposes a model policy.
House, K. T., Kelley, S., Sontag, D. N., & King, L. P. (2021, April 1). Viewpoint: Peer-reviewed article ending restraint of incarcerated individuals giving birth. AMA Journal of Ethics. American Medical Association. https://doi.org/10.1001/AMAJETHICS.2021.364