Alameda County Sheriff to Discontinue Pregnancy Tests for Booked Women

The County reached a settlement with the ACLU of Northern California after a lawsuit was filed last year.

In filing suit, the ACLU acted on behalf of women who considered the required test to be “humiliating, invasive and offensive.” Phyllida Burlingame, reproductive justice policy director at the ACLU of Northern California, mentioned two cases in which women over the age of 60 were required to provide urine for a pregnancy test.

Sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson said a judge had ordered the test be required in response to another lawsuit which alleged that female inmates did not receive adequate prenatal care. Ultimately, the county’s had the protection of women’s reproductive health in mind.

Burlingame acknowledged that the goal was worthy but also posited that the county went too far in enacting it. She continued saying, "People in custody have a right to decide what types of medical care and testing they want to submit to."

As part of the settlement, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office also agreed to inform inmates that the test is optional and have any tests that are requested performed by medical staff.

Further reading on the Alameda County settlement can be found here.


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