The Games Sheriff Arpaio Continues to Play With Women's Health

It was a classic bait and switch: agree to abide by the Constitution in one respect and then create a new constitutional violation. That is what recently happened in our case involving inmates' access to abortion care in Maricopa County, home of "America's Toughest Sheriff," Joseph Arapio. Five years ago, we brought suit against Arapio challenging his policy of requiring inmates to obtain a court order as a condition of being transported for abortion care. We won at every stage of the case: in the trial court, in the state court of appeals, and then the Arizona and U.S. Supreme Courts refused to hear the case, leaving our victories intact.

But apparently, America's Toughest Sheriff also believes he's above the law, because Arpaio continued to demand a court order from inmates seeking abortion care, in violation of the court rulings. We asked the court to hold Arpaio in contempt for blatantly violating the courts' orders. Shortly thereafter, we began to try to find a settlement. Though Arpaio agreed to adopt a policy ensuring access to abortion without a court order, he decided to implement a new requirement: that inmates seeking abortion care must prepay up to $600 for transportation and security costs in order to be taken offsite to see a doctor.

Imagine you are poor, in jail, pregnant, and in need of an abortion — how are you going to raise $600? Who will you tell about your pregnancy to try to get the money? What if you can't get the money? Arpaio provides transportation at no cost to inmates for all other medical care, court visits, and even visits to dying relatives or to attend a funeral. Arpaio singles out abortion care solely because of political opposition to abortion. Though it is a political game to Arpaio, these are real women with real medical needs, and this is a game he can't win. This new policy is just as unconstitutional as the last one, and we filed our brief yesterday asking the court to prevent Arpaio from demanding upfront payment from inmates who seek abortion care.

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I say good on him. Why should state fund killing of babies? Nice to try and call it "care" what a crock

Real Freedom

Maybe if these girls did not want to have a child then they should keep their legs together. Should the innocent baby be held responsible, and executed for their parents lack of judgement.


I am a proponent of individual rights and a strong supporter of the ACLU in its effort to ensure fairness in our criminal justice system. However, I cannot ignore that people like Debbie and "Real Freedom" above are in the majority in states like Arizona, Texas, Florida, West Virginia, etc. Perhaps a better solution is to allow these states to publicly disavow their commitment to the U.S. Constitution, and to allow their citizens to leave if they do not like taking part in the "American Taliban" as I like to call these kinds of people (meaning anti-freedom, anti-progress)


Sheriff Joe is amazing has the support of the vast majority of Arizonians (and Americans). The ACLU is another good idea gone bad -- thanks to the liberal idiots who run it now.


Neil, what about the freedom of the baby? Why is it okay to murder the baby? Because our government says it's okay to murder babies? What about the rights of the baby????

Az Conservative

Joe really is a disgrace. So is the vocal minority here in Az that tries so desperately to strip others of their rights.

Mind Your Own B...

Food for thought--if this is really about money for some people, consider this:

Cost of transportation for abortion services: $600

Cost of raising a child to age 18 in Arizona (paid by the state): $215,000

This is NOT about money however. This is about a self-righteous man who thinks he can make private medical decisions for women.

These women are prisoners but denying them medical care is unethical.

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