April 26, 2017 Articles

Limiting Access to Emergency Contraception May Violate Constitutional Rights

Correctional institutions should adopt legally sound and medically appropriate policies on emergency contraception, and ensure compliance with such policies.

By Renée Dudek – April 26, 2017

Some incarcerated women need emergency contraception, but most have limited access. Women are often sexually active just prior to incarceration. Further, some women are at risk of sexual assault while incarcerated. Consequently, there is some pregnancy risk for incarcerated women. Emergency contraception provides women with a last chance to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Prison and jail policies that inhibit access to emergency contraception may violate women’s due-process and Eighth Amendment rights, and, accordingly, may subject officials to liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 

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