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Ban on EFUs and Artificial Insemination for CA Lifers Upheld

California denies conjugal visits to persons sentenced to life without parole or to life without a parole date established by the parole board. The plaintiff is serving so much time that no parole date appears likely. The court declines to order the prison system to allow him to arrange to artificially inseminate his wife. The right to procreate is fundamental, but "during incarceration a prisoner loses his or her right to access to a means of procreation, be it conjugal visits, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization, etc." (1219, footnote omitted). Id. at n. 4: Because the court finds there is no right, it need not apply the Turner analysis.

The fact that women are not required to abort if they become pregnant in prison does not present an equal protection violation. Male and female prisoners are not similarly situated with respect to terminating pregnancy, since men can't get pregnant. Insofar as they are similarly situated in terms of their sentences, neither are permitted conjugal visits nor other means of procreation. Nor is there an equal protection violation in the differential treatment of persons sentenced before and after California's "three strikes" law; changes in the law don't violate equal protection. See: Gerber v. Hickman, 103 F.Supp.2d 1214 (E.D.Cal. 2000).

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Related legal case

Gerber v. Hickman