A former Washington state prison inmate who says she was shackled while in labor has sued the state, saying her constitutional rights were violated.

Seattle-based women's rights organization Legal Voice filed the federal lawsuit Thursday against the state Department of Corrections on behalf of Casandra Brawley. She was an inmate at the Washington Corrections Center for Women near Gig Harbor until May 2007.

Brawley said she was shackled by a metal chain around her stomach during transportation to the hospital, then fastened by a leg iron to a hospital bed throughout several hours of labor.

The suit alleges her restraints were removed during an emergency cesarean section only after a physician insisted, but then were replaced after the procedure.