Politics

Florida judge allows suit for woman denied 'morning after' pill by prison guard

A Florida judge has ruled a woman can sue after a prison guard refused to give her a doctor-prescribed “morning after” pill based on the guard's religious beliefs.

The case is the third submitted by the Tampa woman after she was raped in January 2007 and given two of the contraception pills at a clinic -- one to take immediately and the other to take 12 hours later, Courthouse News Service reported Monday.

“In this amended complaint … the plaintiff has plead additional facts sufficient to render her claims plausible," wrote U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich.

While filing the police report, an officer discovered an outstanding warrant for the woman and sent her to the Hillsborough County jail.

The second pill was confiscated, and jail employee Michele Spinelli allegedly refused to give it to the woman, saying it was against her religious beliefs.

The woman did not get pregnant, but has filed suit against County Sheriff David Gee and Spinelli. Her lawyers argue the sheriff is liable, though Spinelli’s decision was not official policy. They say Spinelli being the only one on duty gave her "the power to dispense anti-conceptive medication" and that she had not been told "whether she could refuse to dispense anti-conceptive medication based on her religious beliefs."

The plaintiff is suing for gender discrimination and for violations of her right to privacy and her right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment.