Currently in Virginia, if a woman is incarcerated and goes into labor she may be restrained during the whole childbirth experience. Over the past few years, The Family Foundation has worked with a diverse coalition of organizations, including the Virginia Catholic Conference, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood (believe it or not), and Prison Fellowship to prohibit the unnecessary restraint of pregnant inmates. However, this chapter soon will come to a close as the proposed regulations restricting restraints on pregnant inmates is one step closer to reality and will go into effect March 7 after one final public posting. After years of advocacy and waiting, Virginia finally will see proper precautions taken for the health and safety of the pregnant mother and respect for the life of the unborn child. Celebrating this victory, Delegate Patrick Hope (D-47, Arlington), the patron of legislation over the years which would have had similar affect, said:
I commend the Board of Corrections for its strong endorsement prohibiting the restraint of pregnant inmates. All stakeholders worked in good faith to reach consensus and the proposed regulations will ensure the protection of the mother, her unborn child, and law enforcement. No pregnant inmate should ever be unnecessarily restrained.
(Interesting that the delegate, who is pro-abortion, used the term "unborn child." Hopefully, he will come around on that issue one day.)
Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Amherst), chairman of the House subcommittee where this issue has previously been heard, said:
I applaud the Board's action to put appropriate guidelines in place regarding the restraint of pregnant inmates. No inmate should be unnecessarily restrained, and the approved regulations balance our concerns for the safety of the unborn child, the pregnant mother, law enforcement, and the public. The development of these regulations was prolonged, but all parties are to be commended for their hard work and commitment to reaching this balanced compromise. I look forward to their swift implementation.
The Family Foundation would like to thank the coalition for its determined work resulting in protection for pregnant mothers and sanctity for unborn life.