Friday, October 14, 2005


U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple made the ruling on Thursday, and refused to issue a stay on Friday. That means prison officials in Missouri must drive the woman from her cell in Vandalia to a clinic in St. Louis. Cost to the state: $350 plus fuel. That will pay for two guards to accompany the prisoner.

According to The Associated Press:
The woman, whose name was not disclosed in court papers, has said she will borrow money for the abortion from friends and family but cannot afford to pay for transportation.

Under a policy adopted in July, Missouri's prison system does not provide transportation or security for inmates seeking abortions. The policy is based on a state law that prohibits the spending of public funds "for the purpose of performing or assisting an abortion not necessary to save the life of the mother."

State officials argued that their policy is reasonable because of the costs and security risks of transporting inmates outside for procedures the officials said are not medically necessary.

"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," Attorney General Jay Nixon's office said.

The state is appealing the judge's ruling.

The woman's attorney, James Felakos of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the woman is running out of time because she is 16 weeks to 17 weeks pregnant, and Missouri bars abortions after 22 weeks.

In court papers, the woman said she discovered she was pregnant shortly after being arrested in California in July on a Missouri parole violation. She said she tried to get an abortion in California but was transferred back to Missouri before it could be performed.
Jay Nixon, a Democrat, plans to run for governor in 2008. In time, the issue will be raised by both sides -- conservatives who oppose abortion, and liberals who think Nixon shouldn't appeal the case. Talk about a bind.


Anonymous said...

Statement from Gov. Matt Blunt on Court Ruling Requiring State to Transport Inmate to Obtain Abortion

“This is an outrageous order from an activist federal judge that offends Missouri values. I call on the attorney general to vigorously pursue all available legal options to overturn this offensive federal mandate. It is time for him to aggressively argue that this is an inappropriate use of taxpayer resources and contrary to state law. Judge Whipple’s threat of contempt leaves no other alternative but to comply with his order.”

Anonymous said...

The Gov needs to grow up. Many of us Missourians value and support a womans' right to privacy and to a safe and legal abortion...and, the earlier the better.

FACT: An 8-week-old fetus is about the size of a large pea.

This is NOT a life which can survive outside of the womb. AND, until the 16th Century, the Roman Catholic Church allowed abortions until the time of "quickening"...the first flutterings of life that a woman feels (about 12 weeks).

Enough. The state should not be involved in what is a private medical decision.

"Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone..."

Ron Davis said...

"Activist federal judge" Whipple was appointed by Ronald Reagan.

Of course, Gov. Blunt wouldn't mind Whipple being activist if the judge agreed with the governor. That's good activism, don't you know.