DeBolt Bill to Provide Care for Pregnant Inmates Becomes Law

By The Chronicle

Incarcerated mothers will soon gain access to volunteer maternity care, following the signing of a bill sponsored by Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis. 

The legislation allows volunteer midwives and doulas access to help inmates before, during and after childbirth.

“Many incarcerated mothers must say goodbye to their infants shortly after giving birth,” DeBolt said in a statement. “This is often traumatizing for the inmates and their babies. Midwives and doulas can help make this difficult transition easier.”

Both midwives and doulas provide physical and informational support, while midwives also have the medical training to offer exams. The bill allows for access up to six weeks postpartum, while granting the volunteers access to the inmates’ relevant health care information. 

Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bill, which unanimously passed the House and Senate, into law Tuesday.