Varying Policies and Practices Limit Incarcerated Women’s Access to Abortion Care
Access to abortion care for incarcerated women varies widely, according to a new study published in this month’s Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.
Incarcerated women wishing to terminate a pregnancy face numerous challenges; among them are facilities’ ad hoc responses to abortion requests, difficulties in making transportation or financial arrangements, and the requirement of obtaining a
In a survey of health professionals who provide clinical care in correctional facilities, 68% of respondents indicated that inmates at their facilities can obtain elective abortions; however, only 54% said that their facilities help to arrange appointments.
Additionally, the study found that facilities in states with a Republican-dominated
legislature or with a Medicaid policy that restricts abortion were more likely to have limited access to abortion care than were those whose state had a predominantly Democratic legislature or a Medicaid program that covered all or most medically necessary abortions. The authors suggest that the correctional health system should strive to consistently provide quality, comprehensive medical care to all inmates.