SSN Commentary

The Forgotten Victims of Abortion Bans

Policy field

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University of New Haven

Originally published as "The Forgotten Victims of Abortion Bans," Hartford Courant, Sep 13, 2022.

In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson, advocates have stressed the importance of state efforts to protect abortion access. Yet, without federal legal protections, what do denied abortions mean for people in prison and jail who are prevented from accessing abortions and forced to carry their pregnancies?

The anti-choice logic against abortion coincides with anti-choice practices inside correctional facilities. At their foundation, prisons and jails are built to restrict “choice” and control people’s actions. Previously, Roe v. Wade established and protected people’s constitutional right to bodily autonomy when prisons and jails tried to block access to abortions. Now, the overturning of Roe v. Wade further limits reproductive choice inside correctional settings and enables more denied abortions.