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Missouri trying to ban abortions for prison inmates

By Adam Allington, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – A federal appeals court panel in St. Louis is considering whether Missouri is obligated to transport female inmates seeking an outside abortion.

Attorneys representing the state of Missouri argued that transporting prisoners to abortion clinics posed an undue security risk. They also say that the purpose of incarceration over-rides an inmates right to have elective procedures such as abortions.

Diana Kasdan a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union says that security is not a factor.

"They regularly transport inmates off-site, hundreds of times each month for off-site medical care, this is no different and if they're not going to transport these women for abortion care, and if they're going to have take them for all sorts of other pregnancy related care off-site."

Kasdan says that female prisoners are routinely transported as much as three hours away to take the State Board of Cosmetology exam.

According to the ACLU, Missouri is the only state that has attempted to ban abortions for prisoners. Over the last five years seven prisoners have received abortions in Missouri.

The state transports female prisoners off-site for pregnancy related care about 40 times per month.

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