State Corrections Department officials say they have complied with a federal judge’s order that they transport an inmate at the Vandalia women’s prison to St. Louis for an abortion. The action puts a cap on a legal battle that heightened over the weekend. Federal Judge Dean Whipple of Kansas City had ruled the state couldn’t violate the inmate’s constitutional right to have an abortion by refusing to transport her to an abortion clinic. The state appealed, arguing that providing transportation posed a security risk and violated state law that prohibits taxpayer dollars from funding abortion services. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas intervened, but later the entire High Court decided to let Whipple’s previous ruling stand. A Corrections Department spokesman says the Department cannot confirm that the inmate, known only as Jane Roe, actually had an abortion, because that would violate her medical privacy rights. The spokesman has only said that the inmate has returned and that the Department complied with Judge Whipple’s order.
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