Thursday, February 1, 2007
Reproductive Rights in Prison
There's plenty to be alarmed about in the story of a woman in Tampa who was jailed after notifying police that she had been raped. (Read about the story in the Feminist Law Prof blog.) Just one troubling fact is that a worker at the jail refused to give the woman her second dose of emergency contraception to help prevent a possible pregnancy from the rape, because he objected to the medication on religious grounds. Women who end up in correctional facilities do not thereby lose their constitutional right to decide whether or not to bear a child. This means that prison officials can neither force them to have an abortion, nor prevent them from obtaining abortions or emergency contraception. But, in numerous incidents, prison and jail officials have taken it upon themselves to punish women inmates with forced childbirth. The ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project recently won a challenge to an unwritten Maricopa County, Arizona, jail policy denying incarcerated women access to abortions. In that case, the ACLU wrote in its brief, the sheriff in charge of the Maricopa County Jail enforced the policy "consistent with his well-publicized stance against abortion and his ‘America’s toughest sheriff’ persona.” The sheriff conceded that, under the policy, “The gal may have the baby by the time it gets through the court system.”
- Read the ACLU's press release about the case.
- Read the ACLU's brief in the case.
No 1983 claim here? Reading about cases like these are extremely disturbing as a person or group imposing their views on another fundamentally violates one of the basic principles of the Constitution.
Posted by: Jack S. | Feb 1, 2007 9:09:59 AM