Alabama Inmate Sues Lauderdale County Sheriff to Get Abortion

An Alabama inmate, listed as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, is suing Rick Singleton, in his official capacity as Sheriff of Lauderdale County, claiming he violated her Fourteenth Amendment and Eighth Amendment rights.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff is an inmate at the Lauderdale County Jail, and she is within the first trimester of pregnancy. She requested a medical furlough or supervised transport to obtain an abortion, but her request was denied by Sheriff Rick Singleton.

Jane Doe submitted a written request for an abortion on July 10, 2015, but her request was denied by Sheriff Rick Singleton on July 13, 2015.

Sheriff Singleton wrote in letter to the plaintiff, “It is the policy of this office that all non-emergency services are provided through our medical staff at the jail. Your request cannot be handled by our staff and on its face, it does not constitute a medical emergency. Therefore, a Court Order will be required directing the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department to transport you to Huntsville, Alabama, for the stated purpose.”

The suit alleges the plaintiff’s denied request was a violation of her Fourteenth Amendment right to receive an abortion. In addition, the suit claims by denying her an abortion, her Eight Amendment rights are violated via cruel and unusual punishment.

The plaintiff is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The lawsuit asks for an emergency injunction be filed ordering Singleton to grant Doe’s request for both abortion counseling and the abortion procedure.