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Tenn. Judge: Get Sterilized for Reduced Jail Time -- Don't 'Be Burdened Again With Additional Children'

Michael W. Chapman
By Michael W. Chapman | July 26, 2017 | 3:50 PM EDT

Judge Sam Benningfield, White

County Justice Center, Sparta,

Tenn. (Screenshot.) 

To apparently help repeat drug offenders take more responsibility for their actions, Tennessee Judge Sam Benningfield is offering prison inmates free sterilization and implanted birth control in exchange for reduced time in jail, as reported by News Channel 5 in Nashville. 

“I hope to encourage them to somewhat finally take personal responsibility and to give them a chance, so when they do get out not to be burdened again with additional children," said Judge Benningfield in a July 20 interview. Benningfield is the General Sessions judge in White County, Tenn.

On May 15, he issues a Standing Order that, as News Channel 5 reported, says, "Any inmate who completes a neo-natal health class then has an option: female inmates can get a free nexplanon birth control implant in their arm. Male inmates can get a free vasectomy. They will then be given 30 days credit towards their jail time.”

Thirty-two females in the county have received the implant and 38 men are waiting for vasectomies. The National Post reported that the judge issued his order after speaking with health officials, and that the "procedures are reportedly being performed free by the Tennessee Department of Health." 

Nexplanon birth control, which can function as an abortifacient. (Screenshot.) 

The birth control agent nexplanon is about the size of a matchstick and is implanted in a woman's arm. It is supposed to prevent birth for up to three years. The drug releases hormones into the body. These trick the body into thinking its pregnant, which prevents the release of eggs from the ovaries, according to the Go Ask Alice health answers website run by Columbia University

Nexplanon "also thickens cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to enter the uterus," states the site.  "Lastly, it changes the lining of the uterus, preventing any egg that does happen to get fertilized from implanting itself in the uterine wall." (Emphasis added.) In the latter case, Nexplanon acts as an abortifacient. 

With a vasectomy, it is a permanent contraceptive choice, "appropriate for those who have decided to forgo having children in the future," states Go Ask Alice. "A vasectomy is a surgical procedure where the vas deferens, the tube through which sperm travels, is cut. With 99 percent effectiveness, this procedure eliminates the need to think about birth control in the heat of the moment."

Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman