Everyone should be able to have the right to make their own choices. We are all human and we might not make the best decisions. There has been much controversy about whether or not abortion should be illegal or legal. In some parts of the country, abortion is illegal, but in others, it is not. Roth argues that just because you have committed a crime does not mean that you are not granted the right to have an abortion. Once you enter prison, all your rights are stripped away but does your right to have an abortion have to be?
Roth states from her peer-reviewed journal, “Do Prisoners Have Abortion Rights?” that “Incarceration by definition entails the loss of freedom,” which is true but she believes that not all rights should be stripped away. Some of the women’s rights are taken away from them in at least four states: Alabama, Indiana, Mississippi, and Wyoming. Rachel Roth argues that prisoners should be allowed to have the right to have an abortion. She says that it is a form of punishment that no one should have to endure especially if you are in prison and that the chances of prisoners being good mothers to their children are very slim. The prison could only do so much with their small budget to help out the prisoners. It has also been indicated that the prisoner's access to abortion rights is limited when depending on their warden’s preferences. The public Information Officer for the Missouri DOC wrote that “inmates who elect to have an abortion do so at their own cost and must make their own arrangements to do so...prison staff coordinate all outside appointments to minimize the risk of an escape.
Some places allow prisoners to request an abortion but others do not. New Jersey provides abortions for prisoners up to eighteen weeks of pregnancy and makes all arrangements, including taking women to Planned Parenthood for options counseling. Women imprisoned in Pennsylvania can obtain abortions if they can reach the right advocates. Delaware permits prisoners to obtain abortions. Arkansas, Colorado, Michigan, Nebraska, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Texas are not DOC-funded for abortion.
Mark Egerman stated from this peer-reviewed journal,” Rules for radical lawyers: advancing the abortion rights for inmates” that a fifth circuit that sustained Louisiana’s requirement that inmates receive a court order before obtaining an abortion. Victoria W. was an inmate and she suffered from this. Victoria learned she was pregnant when she went to jail and she wanted an abortion. She was forced to wait two weeks to meet with a prison official who told her that she was required to get a court order in order to start the process with the abortion. A month after Victoria requested an abortion, her attorney agreed to file for one on her behalf. Victoria was then transported to a courthouse for the hearing and was kept in a cell but came to find out that the attorney never set up a court hearing for her. By the time Victoria left prison, she was already in her 25th week of pregnancy so it was illegal for her to get an abortion in Lousiana so she gave up her child for adoption.
Samantha Laufer states from her peer-reviewed journal, “REPRODUCTIVE HEALTHCARE FOR INCARCERATED WOMEN: FROM 'RIGHTS' TO 'DIGNITY', “Restrictions on inmates constitutional rights are allowable so long as they are “reasonably related” to a prison’s interests. In evaluating the reasonableness of a prison regulation, courts analyze four factors: (1)whether there is a “valid, rational connection” between the regulation and a “legitimate governmental interest”;(2) “whether there are alternative means” for a prisoner to exercise those rights; (3) the impact of accommodating the exercise of the rights on guards, inmates, and prison resources; and (4) the absence of any reasonable alternatives to the regulation. When it comes to abortion, for instance, the court tends to compare the need of the procedure with other elective medical procedures, rather than examining the need in its own right. When it comes to complex reproductive health issues, the Estelle framework forces the court to draw arbitrary lines about what may or may not be objectively serious.
If there is a way to prevent abortion, then we should reduce it as much as possible. But some of us might not have that luxury and some may think it is the only way. We are all human and we will make mistakes but our actions have consequences. I believe that no one should have to be forced to do what they don’t too. It is their body and they should have a say in it. I agree that when they enter prison that they should be stripped of their rights but to an extent. Prisons should let women have abortions because at the end of the day, we make our decisions and we pay for our actions.
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