Inmate Women Sue Joe Arpaio for Violating Their Abortion Rights

Sheriff Joe is sued. Again.

Only this time it isn't on account of abuses of undocumented immigrants; apparently Joe feels like part of his duty as "America's Toughest Sheriff" is to make it as hard as possible for inmate women to get abortions.

Today, inmates will request that a Maricopa County judge rule to ban Arpaio from charging women $300-$600 -- in advance -- to transport them to get abortions, and for summary judgment and enforcement of a ruling that requires Arpaio allow inmates "timely, safe and legal abortion care."

According to the complaint, Arpaio requires inmates to get a court order before he'll allow them to get an abortion. He also charges them $300 for "security and transportation" to get a first-term abortion, and $600 for a second-term abortion, even though transportation for other types of medical treatment is free, according to court documents.

The ACLU, which is representing the inmates, say such requirements are "designed to obstruct the inmate's access to abortion care and it creates unnecessary delay."

For most people, getting sued more than 73 times since 2005 -- most for civil rights issues --would be a wake-up call. Not for our sheriff. "America's Toughest Sheriff" apparently considers another lawsuit just another feather in his cap.

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Malia Politzer
Contact: Malia Politzer