a bird and a bottle

Yet Another Example of Why Your Religion & My Body Do Not Mix
January 30, 2007, 1:49 pm
Filed under: criminal justice, feminism/s & gender, law, news, reproductive justice

update: Dr. B over at Bitch, PhD has a fantastic post up that uses this article as a jumping off point to talk about issues of women in the criminal justice system. Run don’t walk (or whatever the blog equivalent of that is) over there to read it.

Commenter Jeff alerted me to this story:

A pre-med student in Tampa was grabbed and raped behind a building following a parade early Saturday afternoon. After the assault, the woman called police, who took her to a nurse examiner’s office. While processing the report, they discovered an outstanding juvenile warrant from 2003 for failing to pay restitution (the article does not specify the old charges). The police then arrested the woman and took her to jail, where she remained for the next two days. But wait—that’s not where it ends.

The clinic had given her Plan B for emergency contraception but the jail’s medical supervisor, an employee of a company contracted to provide medical services in the jail, refused to allow her to take the second dose, citing (of course) religious objections. The second pill is supposed to be taken within twelve hours of the first one, but the woman was prevented from taking it for nearly 48 hours. Her lawyer claims that she has paid the restitution already and the record of non-payment must be a clerical error.

Other bloggers, including Jill and Jessica have already covered this story.

I just want to add this: beyond being totally and utterly outrageous as an abuse of power and an example of the bad bad bad encroachment of religion into personal decisionmaking (as with phramacists), this episode represents one of the myriad problems posed when private companies run prisons. As far as I know, a public employee could not deny a rape victim EC. It also exposes yet another reason why rape victims often do not seek help. Because they are stigmatized, because it might expose them to criminal prosecution, because it means other people get to at least try to control their bodies.

There’s a lot of anger about this in the feminist blogosphere today. And rightfully so! The Tampa Police Department’s response through spokeswoman Laura McElroy?

“We may need to revisit our policy.”

She wins for understatement of the year.


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[…] 31st 2007, 11:34 am Filed under: law, criminal justice, reproductive justice Apparently, the Tampa, FL woman who was arrested on an outstanding warrant for restitution after going to the hospital to report […]

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Question: Aren’t juvenile arrest records supposed to be expunged upon reaching age of majority?

Comment by Jeff Berger

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