County program allowing inmates to get reduced time for birth control under fire

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WHITE COUNTY, Tenn. — A new plan in White County, Tennessee aimed at reducing the number of babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is under fire by the ACLU.

In May, Judge Sam Benningfield signed an order allowing inmates the option of getting two days off their sentence if they take part in the Department of Health’s NAS educational program, CBS News reported.

Any inmate who accepts the deal will also have to undergo a free birth control procedure.

For men that means a vasectomy and for women a contraception implant.

It must be noted, this is not sterilization as both can be reversed.

So far, 32 women and 38 men have elected to participate in the program which the ACLU claimed is unconstitutional.

“Such a choice violates the fundamental constitutional right to reproductive autonomy and bodily integrity by interfering with the intimate decision of whether and when to have a child, imposing an intrusive medical procedure on individuals who are not in a position to reject it,” they organization said in a statement obtained by WTVF.

But Judge Benningfield didn’t see it that way saying it’s not being forced on anyone.

He said it’s simply an option for those repeat drug offenders who get out and struggle with both the burden of finding a job while raising a family.

“I hope to encourage them to take personal responsibility and give them a chance,” he said. “This gives them a chance to get on their feet and make something of themselves.”