Minnesota Department of Corrections


Division Directive:                 500.108                         Title: Adult Offender Abortion

Issue Date:                             12/3/13

Effective Date:                      12/17/13


AUTHORITY:           Minn. Stat. §§241.021, subd. 4; 243.212


PURPOSE:    To provide incarcerated offenders with medical and social services related to an abortion.


APPLICABILITY:    Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC); incarcerated, pregnant adult offenders requesting an abortion


DIRECTIVE: The United States Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), Planned Parenthood of Southern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, (1992), and the Minnesota Supreme Court in Women of the State of Minnesota v. Gomez, 542 N.W. 2d 17 (1995) have established the constitutional limits on a woman’s decision to have an abortion and the use of public funds to pay for an abortion.  This policy is to be narrowly construed in a manner consistent with these decisions.


The department, through its medical vendor, provides therapeutic abortions.  The department absorbs related expenses for therapeutic abortions.  In all other circumstances, the offender must pay for the elective abortion and related expenses which include transportation and security costs.  These funds must be available prior to scheduling the appointment for the abortion procedure (see Division Directive 500.135, “Offender-Requested Private Health Care).


Department staff who wishes not to be involved in arranging, transporting, or providing security during an abortion is not required to do so.



Therapeutic abortion - a therapeutic abortion includes an abortion performed for the following reasons:

1.         The woman suffers from a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, that would, as certified by a physician, place the woman in danger of death unless the abortion is performed;

2.         The pregnancy resulted from rape;

3.         The pregnancy resulted from incest; and/or

4.         The abortion is being done for other health reasons.


Elective abortion - an abortion performed for any reason other than the reasons listed under therapeutic abortion.



A.        When health services is informed that an offender wants an abortion, health services schedules an appointment for the offender with a nurse.  The nurse discusses the abortion process and offers appropriate social services.  The decision to have an abortion lies solely with the offender.


B.        Health services schedules an appointment for the offender to be examined by the OB/GYN physician and behavioral health staff, if necessary, to determine the reason for the abortion (i.e., rape, incest, significant physical or mental disorder, etc.).


C.        The offender must sign the Offender Request Statement (attached) to the fact that she chooses to have an abortion before the abortion can occur.


D.        The health services staff arranges for the abortion upon receipt of the offender’s signed statement requesting a therapeutic abortion.


E.         The health services administrator, in conjunction with the case manager, assists the offender in making arrangements for the abortion upon receipt of the offender’s signed statement requesting an elective abortion.  This includes identifying resources, potential providers, and other contacts as necessary.  It does not include making phone calls to providers on behalf of the offender.


F.         Following an abortion, referrals are made as determined by the practitioner, which may include psychological services.



A.        Minnesota Correctional Facility-Shakopee health services documentation of training on this policy is located in the employee’s supervisory file, which is maintained by the registered nurse supervisor.


B.        The Offender Request Statement is retained in the legal section of the medical file.


REVIEW:       Annually


REFERENCES:         Division Directive 500.135, "Offender Requested Private Health Care"

ACA standards 3-4359 and 3-4387

NCCHC standard P. 58


SUPERSESSION:     Division Directive 500.108, "Adult Offender Abortion," 11/6/07.

All facility policies, memos, or other communications whether verbal, written, or transmitted by electronic means regarding this topic.


ATTACHMENTS:    Offender Request Statement (500.108A)



Deputy Commissioner, Facility Services