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Theocracy in a Florida Jail

Of course this happened in Flori-duh.

A woman, identified only as “R.W.” went to a rape crisis center in Tampa. She got a pair of morning-after pills, you know, so she wouldn’t have to suffer through a rape AND 9 months of carrying the rapist’s child. She then went to the police station to report the rape.

Thereafter, a TPD officer accompanied Plaintiff back to the scene ofthe crime to investigate. (Dkt. 16, at 31). At some point, however, the officer discovered that Plaintiff was the subject of an arrestwarrant for failure to appearand failure to pay restitution. After making this discovery, the officer arrested Plaintiff and took her to the Hillsborough County Jail on OrientRoad in Tampa, Florida (hereinafter “Jail”). The remaining anti-conception pill was taken from Plaintiff upon her arrival at the Jail. (Op. at 2).

Yeah, that’s bad enough, right? End the story here and the cops are fucking douchebags. It gets worse.

She had already popped her first morning after pill. The second one had to be taken 12 hours later. Since she happened to be in jail, she had to ask her captor for the second pill.

When R.W. asked for her second pill, Hillsborough County Jail “private contractor” Michele Spinelli refused on religious grounds.

Plaintiff remained in jail overnight,and the next morning requested the anti-conception pill from Spinelli explained thatthe doctor atthe Rape Crisis Center had prescribed it to ensure that Plaintiffdid not become pregnant as the resultofthe rape. (Dkt. 16, at 138). In response, “Spinelli told the Plaintiffthat Spinelli would not give herthe pill because it was against her (Spinelli’s) religious beliefs.” (Dkt. 16, at p 39). (Op. at 2)

She did not get pregnant, but she did sue — as she should have.

Much of her complaint was dismissed, and the Court reminded her that she didn’t have much of a pay day at the end of the case:

Court assumes Plaintiff’s counsel is already cognizant of this fact, the Court wishes for the Plaintiff to be personally aware that, should she ultimately prevail on her claims, her damages will in all likelihood be limited to “nominal damages not to exceed one dollar,” in addition to costs and fees pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988. (Op. at 10)

Lets hope that does not dissuade her.

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