Document Type



This Essay argues that state abortion statutes codifying government interests in the health and welfare of the unborn trigger a constitutional right to prenatal care where adequate medical care is constitutionally required in the penal system. It explores the healthcare mandates required by the U.S. Constitution in the era before the passage of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, specifically looking at abortion access and prenatal provisions in the penological system. It then dissects abortion-related legislation passed by various states in the wake of Dobbs—emphasizing language within the legislative findings that could trigger a constitutional obligation for prenatal health in jails and prisons. The Essay concludes with an assessment of Section 1983 claims to enforce this standard of care.