Officials in White County, Tennessee, have given inmates the option of ending their jail sentence early if they voluntarily agree to have a vasectomy or birth control implant.
General Sessions Court Judge Sam Benningfield, who signed a standing order in May, said he made the decision to ensure that inmates would not be “burdened with children,” according to WTVF.
The program works like this: Both sexes can volunteer to participate, which is free of charge. Women are given a Nexplanon contraceptive implant, which works for up to four years, in their arm. The Tennessee Department of Health will provide vasectomies for men who volunteer for the program. Those who participate will receive 30 days of credit toward their jail time.
So far, 32 women have received the implant, while 38 men are waiting for a vasectomy, The Daily Beast reported.
The ACLU reportedly released a statement calling the program “unconstitutional:”
“Offering a so-called ‘choice’ between jail time and coerced contraception or sterilization 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. Judges play an important role in our community – overseeing individuals’ childbearing capacity should not be part of that role.”