Clearing out my inbox round-up

Apologies for not having time to blog all these properly!

The Observer profiles four women who gave birth in prison, one of whom was shackled while pregnant and during hospital treatments.

Human Rights Watch are calling for the release of a Saudi Arabian woman who was sentenced to 300 lashes and one and a half years’ imprisonment for filing a complaint of harassment against a government official and appearing in court without a male guardian. The country agreed to abolish the male guardianship system in 2009 following pressure from the UN, but have so far failed to make any progress.

A soldier who refused to fight in Afghanistan was sentenced to nine months in prison on Friday. His wife said that he went AWOL because he believes he has “a legal and moral obligation as a soldier and a human being is to protect the international community” and that this was not compatible with the “terrible crimes” committed against the people of Afghanistan.

ActionAid have identified a rise in rape and sexual attacks against women in Haiti since the earthquake (video).

Zoe Margolis, author of Girl With A One Track Mind, was labelled a ‘hooker’ in the headline to a piece she wrote in the Independent on Saturday. Being labelled a sex worker should not be read as an insult, but it’s pretty revealing that the headline writers assumed that a woman who writes about sex and makes no apologies for her sexual appetite must be a ‘hooker’. Update: Margolis will be pursuing legal action against the paper.

Kate Evans on why the Equality Bill won’t protect breastfeeding mothers: it only bans discrimination against a breastfeeding woman if the baby is under six months old:

Picture this: an altercation arises between a charity shop manager and a mother. The police are called. “Ah,” the mother is told, “your baby is over the legal limit for breastfeeding in public.” This may not be the way this bill was designed, but it’s how it’s going to be interpreted.

Cath Elliott and IUSW member Thierry Schaffauser argue that soliciting must be decriminalised in order to help protect sex workers and prostituted women from violence. Nice to see activists from both sides of the prostitution debate coming to a positive agreement. Paying for sex from a person who has been exploited will be illegal from April 1st, under Clause 14 of the Policing and Crime Act.

A new YouGov survey shows that more than 60% of the Irish public would support a change in the country’s laws to allow abortion in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal abnormalities, or danger to the pregnant woman’s life or health. Current Irish law permits abortion only when a woman’s life is threatened by her pregnancy, and in practice women cannot get abortions in Ireland even under those circumstances.