Inmate Entitled to Abortion

by TChris

A federal court has recognized that prisons can’t prevent a female inmate from exercising her constitutional right to an abortion, even if the state adopts a rule that prohibits the expenditure of state funds to transport the woman to a hospital for that purpose. The ruling only makes sense, given the captive woman’s inability to drive herself to the hospital.

"The law is now well established that federal courts have declared that a woman has a constitutional right to choose to terminate a pregnancy rather than carry the pregnancy to term," Chief District Judge Dean Whipple wrote in an order filed in federal court for Western Missouri. "It is also clearly established that these rights of the woman survive incarceration."

(via How Appealing)

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    Re: Inmate Entitled to Abortion (none / 0) (#2)
    by Lis Riba on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:03:28 PM EST
    Unfortunately, it appears Clarence Thomas blocked the ruling

    Re: Inmate Entitled to Abortion (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:01 PM EST
    This case is a good example of the hypocrisy of the religious wingnut anti abortion stance. Their argument is that life begins at conception, well isn't is wrong to imprison the innocent fetus? The anti-abortion crowd is usually pro death penalty as well.
    “It is not the prison that has imposed the burden, but the prisoner’s violation of the law that resulted in her incarceration that has imposed the burden,” Pritchett wrote.
    What did the fetus do to deserve imprisonment? Obviously this is all about choice and the arguments put forth by Pritchett are disingenuous at best.

    Re: Inmate Entitled to Abortion (none / 0) (#3)
    by Peter G on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:02 PM EST
    The Eighth Circuit had previously previously refused to issue a stay. If the article quotes the Missouri law correctly (transportation provided only to save the woman's life) then the statute would seem to violate the Supreme Court decision in Stenberg, that an exception for serious threats to the woman's health is also necessary for any abortion-restricting law to be valid.

    Re: Inmate Entitled to Abortion (none / 0) (#4)
    by Peter G on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:02 PM EST
    Having just read a bit more on the facts of the case, I see the woman is 17 weeks pregnant -- not too far into the second trimester. Of course, if she has chosen to have an abortion, the sooner the better in terms of safety, anxiety, etc., but it is not an emergency today. Justice Thomas's stay is temporary, and holds the status quo until more careful consideration can be given to the question whether the criteria for a stay are met. If so, it would allow the Eighth Circuit to consider an emergency appeal if the State of Missouri really wants to take one, without the case becoming moot. Either Thomas or the full Court will reconsider the stay within a few days. If the state has little probability of success (as I suggested in my previous comment), then the temporary stay should be dissolved and the original judge's order will stand -- requiring the jail to provide transportation for her to the Planned Parenthood clinic.