No Consent at All When It's Coerced by Gov: TN Sued Over Policy to Implant Birth Control for Less Jail Time

From [HERE] A former inmate of the White County Jail, Christel Ward, filed suit [Complaint, PDF] in the US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee , Northeastern Division on Thursday claiming that her constitutional rights had been violated when she was offered free birth control in exchange for a promised sentence reduction. Ward claims that she still has the unwanted birth control device [AP report] in her arm, and her sentence was ultimately never reduced. The complaint names in particular Sheriff Oddie Shoupe [official website], Deputy Donna Daniels, and Tennessee state Judge Sam Benningfield as defendants and alleges that the birth-control-for-sentence-reduction policy

is Eugenics with-a-twist: an official program ratified and implemented by Sheriff Shoupe that dangled a 30-day reduction in jail time, but only in exchange for Ms. Ward and other convicted misdemeanants giving up their constitutional right to procreate, by agreeing to some form of sterilization (vasectomy for males; three-to-five-year birth-control implant for women). This unconstitutional program strikes at the very heart of voluntary consent because consent is no consent at all—when consent is unduly coerced by government officials.

 Borrowing a famous quote from the late Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, the complaint further alleged that the policy has deemed Ward and other prison inmates at the White County jail as "the problem of the unfit," "feeble minded," and "imbeciles." Benningfield had rescinded his order [ACLU press release] implementing the policy in July amid pressure from the ACLU of Tennessee [advocacy website] and the state health department [official website]. Ward is just one among many White County jail inmates who underwent the allegedly coerced birth control procedures. [MORE]