ALAMEDA COUNTY (KCBS)— The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department is now responding to an American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU) lawsuit challenging its policy of mandatory pregnancy tests for all female detainees under the age of 60.
A sheriff’s spokesman said the department is simply doing what it has been ordered to do by the courts.
While the mandatory pregnancy test policy is not new, Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. J.D. Nelson explained that a case in the 1980s resulted in a court order requiring the sheriff’s department to care for the unborn in its jails.
“Because of that, we had to build an OB clinic at Santa Rita and we were compelled to do pregnancy tests because we were required to care for the unborn,” he said.
The ACLU lawsuit argues the pregnancy tests violate constitutional rights as well as state law which gives everyone the right to refuse medical care and that they are humiliating.
“There is also California law that clearly states that for unnecessary medical procedures, folks in custody should have the right to inform consent,” said ACLU senior staff attorney Elizabeth Gill.
The suit was filed in Alameda County Superior Court earlier this week.