FACT: If you are pregnant, you can choose to have the baby OR choose to have an abortion.

FACT: If you choose to have the baby, the prison officials must take care of your medical needs.

FACT: If you choose to have an abortion, the prison officials must allow you to obtain a legal abortion.

Prison officials CANNOT:

  • Force you to get an abortion against your wishes;
  • Deny or purposely delay your request to get an abortion;
  • Force you to prepay for services or transportation before you can get medical care.

Prison officials MUST:

  • Respond when you ask for medical care;
  • Provide prenatal and obstetrical care during pregnancy;
  • Provide medical care after your pregnancy (postpartum care);
  • Allow you to receive timely, legal abortion services at an outside facility.

If you are not getting the medical care you need, you should:

  • Ask other medical staff or officials to help you.
  • Write down everything that happens. Put ALL of your requests for medical care in writing and keep a copy of all of your requests.
  • Keep a list of the people you talk to or ask for help. Write down what they told you and the dates and times you talked to them.
  • File a grievance. It is very important that you file all appeals that are allowed in the grievance system. It is also very important that you follow all the rules and deadlines of the grievance system. These rules and deadlines are usually written in the inmate handbook or should be available in the library. If officials will not give you the grievance forms you need or will not let you file or appeal a grievance, you should immediately contact your lawyer or the ACLU.
  • Keep track of your attempts to file a grievance (names of people involved, dates and times).

If you are still told that you (1) cannot have an abortion; or that (2) you must have an abortion; or (3) if you do not receive the medical care you need, contact your lawyer or the ACLU immediately.

Act quickly! Early prenatal care is important for you to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. If you decide to have an abortion, it is also important to act quickly. The longer you wait, the harder it may be to find a doctor able to provide the service.

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