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Aclu Pregnancy Care for Prisoners Brochure 2008

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Your Right to

Pregnancy-Related Health Care
in Prison or Jail
FACT: Ifyou are pregnant, being in prison or jail does not mean you lose your
right to decide whether to continue your pregnancy or have an abortion.
Your constitutional rights are being violated if:
1. You are told that you must have an abortion that you do not want.
2. You are told that you are not allowed to have an abortion that you do want.
3. You cannot get prenatal or other medical care for your pregnancy.
4. You are forced to pay before you can get the medical care you need.
If you are not getting the medical care you need, you should:
1. Ask yourself if it is just one particular nurse or guard who's giving you a hard time. If it is, then ask
other medical staff or officials to help you.
2. Document everything that happens. Put your request for an abortion or other medical care in writing
and keep a copy. Also, keep a list ofthe people you've spoken to or contacted. Be sure to write
down what they've told you and the dates and times you've spoken to them.
3. In addition to your request for medical care, you should also file a grievance (an official complaint).
If your grievance is denied or rejected, you must file an appeal. It is very important that you file
all appeals that are allowed in your jail's or prison's grievance system. It is also very
important that you follow all the rules and deadlines of the grievance system. These rules and
deadlines are usually written in the inmate handbook. If officials will not give you the grievance
forms you need, will not let you file or appeal a grievance, or are interfering with your use of the
grievance system in any way, you should immediately contact your lawyer or the ACLU (see contact
information below).

If you are still told that you must have an abortion even though you don't want to, or you are unable to get
an abortion or prenatal care you want, you should contact your lawyer or the ACLU.
Whether you decide to continue the pregnancy or have an abortion, it is important to act quickly. Early
prenatal care is very important for you to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. If you decide to have
an abortion, it is also important to act quickly. While abortions are extremely safe, the costs and risks
increase with time. The longer you wait, the harder it may be to find a doctor able to provide the service.


American Civil Liberties Union
Reproductive Freedom Project
125 Broad Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Tel.: (212) 549-2633 • e-mail:



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