A federal judge says the corrections department must allow abortions for any woman inmate who wants one….and must spend state money taking the inmate to the place where the abortion will take place. But the department will continue its fight in what is becoming a test of whether the state can indirectly limit the opportunities of some women to exercise a federally-guaranteed right. Last year the U-S Supreme Court said the state had to let a woman inmate have an abortion and had to take her to the place for the procedure. Now a federal judge says that standard applies to all women inmates. Corrections director Larry Crawford says the state law should trump the federal right to an abortion–at least as far as women in state custody are concerned. He admits the U-S Supreme Court has upheld the right of women to have abortions. But he says the court should recognize the state’s right to refuse to spend money in any way for a woman to have an abortion. He says the costs of security and of transportation to take an inmate to an abortion facility would violate state law. He says the only elective inmate medical procedure the state has paid for recently was last year when it took the woman inmate from the Vandalia prison to the abortion facility. He thinks the state lost that case because there was no time to adequately argue it. He thinks the new appeal can be argued in a better climate.
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