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Inslee signs bill requiring prisons and jails to accommodate midwives and doulas for pregnant inmates

UPDATED: Fri., March 16, 2018, 8:01 a.m.

FILE – Corrections guard Tom Lovell and prisoners at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Purdy, Wash., Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013. (Dean J. Koepfler / AP via The News Tribune)
FILE – Corrections guard Tom Lovell and prisoners at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Purdy, Wash., Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013. (Dean J. Koepfler / AP via The News Tribune)

OLYMPIA – State prison facilities and local jails must make “reasonable accommodations” for midwives and doulas to assist pregnant inmates.

A state law, which passed the Legislature unanimously and was signed Tuesday by Gov. Jay Inslee, adds those options to requirements for medically necessary health care services for people who are incarcerated. The Washington Department of Corrections and local jails aren’t legally required to provide funding for certified midwives or doulas, who provide physical and emotional support to women before, during and after delivery.

But under the law, which takes effect in June, they are not prevented from adopting policies that allow those services.