Access to Abortion for Women in Prison

In Abortion Access for Imprisoned Women: Marginalized Medical Care for a Marginalized Group, published in Women’s Health Issues, author Rachel Roth discusses the challenges faced by incarcerated women seeking abortion. She writes that, in addition to often making a woman pay for the abortion, 11 states impose additional costs — from gas, tolls, and other transportation fees to wages of officers taking them to appointments; these costs are often compounded since prisons tend to be located in rural areas and abortion services are often in urban areas. In addition, 7 states require lengthy procedures which can include paperwork, prepayment through a prison bank account, and forms for the provider to fill out and return — all before an appointment. Conversely, eight states have no policy on abortion, a situation that Roth suggests may invite “prison officials and individual staff members who are antichoice to impose their own views on the women in their custody.”

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