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Prison Official Resigns After Bosses Deny Inmate Abortion

'Jane Roe' had to sue to get the procedure, which took place Tuesday in Nebraska
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2021 9:20 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Nebraska inmate who fought to have an abortion was finally granted one, but not before a legal battle with corrections officials, one of whom ended up resigning due to the prison's initial denial of her request. Per the AP, the 22-year-old inmate, referred to as "Jane Roe," filed a civil rights lawsuit on Friday, noting she arrived at York's Nebraska Correctional Center for Women on Feb. 18 to start serving a 26-month sentence and asked for an abortion at the end of March. In her complaint, Roe says she was told by officials on April 2 that a technicality had her inmate account frozen for 21 days—meaning she couldn't access funds to pay for the abortion—and that it would be too late under Nebraska law to get the procedure by the time the account was unfrozen. Roe filed her suit after she'd arranged for other funds and still had her request denied. Roe's mother says her daughter became pregnant as the result of forced sex, per the Omaha World-Herald.

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On Monday, a federal judge directed prison officials to take Roe to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Lincoln for "informed consent" counseling, followed by transport to the clinic on Tuesday for the abortion itself. The clinic only performs abortions up to 16.5 weeks of pregnancy; Roe was 16 weeks pregnant as of Tuesday. She was required to pay for the abortion herself, as well as put up the $355 for the state to take her to the clinic and guard her. An attorney for the ACLU of Nebraska, which filed the complaint on Roe's behalf, says the prison's initial denial of her request was "wrong and unlawful," per Courthouse News. Hayden Thomas, a 27-year-old Nebraska corrections official who resigned over the case before the judge's ruling, agrees. "How can we possibly claim the moral authority to incarcerate others for forsaking the rule of law if we ourselves fail to uphold it?" he wrote in his resignation letter, per the World-Herald. (Read more abortion stories.)

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