ACLU To Testify for Bill to End Shackling of Pregnant Women

February 26, 2013

Download the ACLU testimony on HB 829



February 26, 2013


CONTACT: Meredith Curtis, Communications Director, 410-889-8555; 


ANNAPOLIS - On February 26, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland will support House Bill 829, which would prohibit shackling pregnant inmates and detainees during their second and third trimesters except in certain limited circumstances. Power Inside, an organization that works directly with incarcerated women, will testify in support of the bill, as will the Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches. 


Across the country, including here in Maryland, detained and incarcerated pregnant women are shackled.  Shackling a pregnant woman can pose undue health risks for the woman and her fetus.  Leg and wrist restraints increase the likelihood that a pregnant woman could trip, and they compromise her ability to brace against a fall, risking miscarriage and injury.  Heavy belly or waist restraints can bruise a pregnant woman's abdomen and pose a risk to fetal heath. Go to YouTube to see video related to this practice:


Statement of Sonia Kumar, Attorney with the ACLU of Maryland: "Shackling women during labor is inhumane, dangerous, and unnecessary.  Maryland needs to codify a statewide ban to ensure that no Maryland woman ever undergoes this barbaric practice again."


WHAT: Hearing in the House Judiciary Committee in support of HB 829.


WHO:  Sonia Kumar, Attorney, ACLU of Maryland. Kumar will be available for media interviews.


WHEN: Wednesday, February 25, 2013; hearing begins at 1 PM. 


WHERE: House Judiciary Committee, House Office Building entrance, 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD.


Learn more at the ACLU of Maryland website.