Monday, March 24, 2008

Supreme Court Refuses to Review Arizona Prison’s Abortion Policy

ACLU press release: Lower Court’s Ruling Upholding Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom Will Stand:

Washington, DC - The United States Supreme Court announced today that it would not review a lower court decision preventing prison officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, from interfering with women prisoners’ access to timely, safe, and legal abortion care.

"As we have shown throughout this case, a pregnant woman in prison does not lose her right to decide to have an abortion any more than she gives up her right to have a child," said Brigitte Amiri, a staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. "It is not up to prison officials to decide whether a woman prisoner should carry a pregnancy to term or not."

At issue in the case was an unwritten Maricopa County Jail policy preventing women in prison from obtaining abortion care. The policy prohibited jail officials from transporting a prisoner for an abortion unless she first obtained a court order. The jail transports prisoners without a court order for all other necessary medical care, including prenatal care and childbirth. The jail also regularly transports prisoners for various non-medical reasons, including visits with terminally ill family members or attendance at relatives’ funerals.

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