Shackling pregnant inmates should be limited, groups say

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Legislation to restrict the use of restraints on pregnant inmates is drawing support from across the political spectrum.

Representatives from abortion-rights groups, the ACLU, religious organizations and the conservative Family Foundation were among those advocating approval of the legislation at a news conference Tuesday.

Democratic Del. Patrick Hope's bill would prohibit the shackling of pregnant inmates unless it's necessary to protect public safety or keep them from fleeing.

Supporters of the Arlington County lawmaker's bill said some law enforcement agencies routinely restrain pregnant women even during childbirth - a practice they called unnecessary and barbaric.

Katherine Greenier of the ACLU said 14 states limit the use of restraints on pregnant inmates.

Hope's bill is pending in a House subcommittee.