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Judge rules Missouri inmates can have abortions


By Associated Press/KWMU

Kansas City, MO – A federal judge has ruled that Missouri must allow pregnant inmates to have abortions, and must take them to clinics for the procedure. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple in Kansas City applies to all female prisoners in Missouri.

In October, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state had to allow a specific inmate to have an abortion. Following that ruling, the ACLU asked the court to make the ruling a class action on behalf of all imprisoned pregnant women in the state.

"Missouri was under the impression that it could jail someone and then prevent them from exercising their constitutional rights to an abortion," said Brett Shirk, executive director of the ACLU of Western Missouri. "Judge Whipple said they couldn't do that and the Supreme Court agreed unanimously with him. And today Judge Whipple has said it was a class action suit involving all prisoners and we agree with that."

A spokesman for Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon would not speculate on whether the decision would be appealed.

Gov. Matt Blunt issued a short statement, criticizing the ruling, which he says "violates our traditional Missouri values and is an affront to everyone that values the sanctity of human life.

"I urge the attorney general to fight this ruling that prevents the state of Missouri from protecting innocent human life."


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