SPARTA, Tenn. — A judge in White County, Tennessee has rescinded his standing order offering a 30-day reduction in jail time to male inmates who get vasectomies and female inmates who get a Nexplanon implant in their arms. The ACLU of Tennessee has issued the following statement in response.
The following can be attributed to Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN executive director:
“We are pleased that Judge Benningfield rescinded his unconstitutional standing order that offered a 30-day jail credit to inmates in exchange for getting vasectomies or birth control implants. The Constitution protects people’s right to choose whether and when to procreate. The judge’s initial order undermined this constitutional protection because it amounted to the government coercing people not to procreate. Though the program was technically ‘voluntary,’ spending even a few days in jail can lead to the loss of jobs, child custody, housing and vehicles. To the individual faced with these collateral consequences of time spent behind bars, a choice between sterilization or contraception and a reduced jail sentence is not much of a choice at all. The judge’s order crossed a constitutional line and we are pleased that he rescinded it.”
A copy of the initial standing order can be found here: https://www.aclu-tn.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/2017MayStandingOrderBenningfield.pdf
A copy of the order rescinding the standing order can be found here: https://www.aclu-tn.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/WhiteCountyRescindingOrder.pdf