Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The right to be in jail

Last Wednesday, a Missouri inmate obtained an abortion at the Planned Parenthood in downtown St. Louis. This situation caused quite a stir because she was pregnant when entering jail and had had the intention of aborting her child at that time. However, due to the circumstance of her arrest, she was unable to abort before entering jail.

Her lawyer petitioned for permission for her to abort, and shockingly, it was as success. Despite the pleas of the governor of the State, the courts ruled that she must be allowed to abort, the Supreme Court of the US did nothing to deny the abortion when the petition crossed their path.

The first think that came to mind when I saw the judgement of the Supreme Court on this matter was the extreme contradiction. According to this same Court, abortion is a right!! And, what do we do with rights when we go to jail? That's right, children, we forfeit them! Inmates forfeit their rights by the nature of the crime committed. As inmates, they no longer enjoy the right to vote, the right to conjugal visits, and the rights to many other freedoms.

But abortion is different. Abortion is unlike every other right that is granted in the Founding Documents of our Nation. The right to abortion supersedes the right to informed consent. It is above the right of a parent to express consent or notification in the healthcare decision of their minor daughters. It is above the responsibilities of safe, clinical regulations. It is above every other right that is granted by our Constitution.

Abortion always flies right under the radar screen, or maybe sometimes over it. It is the be-all, end-all right that has been dividing our nation since long before Roe.

Thankfully, some speculate that this is only beginning of a long battle over the exact position of the right to abortion in the lives of prison inmates and others.

State senator Rob Mayer expressed his concerns in these words, "I would also like to see what reason the Supreme Court had for ruling the way it did. In the past, the courts usually rule in favor of the Department of Corrections."

Stay tuned to this story in the near future…

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