Friday, May 28, 2010

Sheriff under fire for refusing abortion transport

A Texas sheriff is standing firm against the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which says he violated an inmate's constitutional "right" to an abortion.

Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler had a pregnant inmate jailed on a burglary charge. Her family was willing to pay for an abortion, but she needed to be transported to an abortion clinic for the operation. So Sheriff Fowler found an ACLU attorney knocking on his door.

"Well, [we were told] the county will have to take this inmate to the abortion clinic, transport her, and then you get into a situation of a guard hire and all the costs associated with that," the sheriff points out. "So I said, 'No. I don't think that's a proper use of county taxpayers' money.'"

Fowler did ask to have the inmate's case moved forward quickly, which did happen. She received five years probation and was released. But now the ACLU is demanding to know what the sheriff will do if a similar situation occurs in the future.

"My take on it is unless the legislature creates a law that requires a sheriff to take inmates to an abortion clinic, then I'm not gonna do it," he explains.

He says he took an oath to uphold the laws of Texas, and the public response to his stance has been positive. As people have visited his office and shown their support with phone calls, Fowler says, "To tell you the truth, I was a bit overwhelmed with it."

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