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June 16, 2009

Pregnant, HIV-Positive Mother in Maine to Be Released on Bail

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock has ordered that Quinta Layin Tuleh—an HIV-positive pregnant woman from Cameroon arrested for having false immigration documents—will give birth in a Portland, Maine, hospital rather than a federal prison, the Bangor Daily News reports. She will be released on personal recognizance bail, with her appeal to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals currently pending in Boston.

According to the Article, Woodcock had increased Tuleh’s sentence from the recommended 114 days to 238 days to ensure that the baby would be born into federal custody and receive antiretroviral treatment to decrease the likelihood of contracting HIV. The baby is due in August.

“I recognize that the sentence turned out to be controversial,” said Woodcook, who reversed his previous decision. “I can certainly understand how some have misinterpreted what the court intended to do in this case.”

Jennifer Putnam, director of clinical services at the Frannie Peabody Center in Portland, testified June 15 that Tuleh would receive treatment from the center, would be assigned a case manager and would be eligible to be visited by a public health nurse about two or three times a week. State and federal programs will pay for Tuleh’s housing, food, medicine and treatment, Putnam said.

Tuleh was arrested at the Presque Isle Airport on January 21 when false documents were discovered in her luggage. She told investigators that she quit her job as a nanny after a dispute with the woman she worked for. According to court documents, she is applying for asylum in the United States on the basis that her former employer may have abused her.

Search: Cameroon, Maine, Portland, pregnant, mother-to-child, transmission, antiretroviral, Frannie Peabody Center, Quinta Layin Tuleh

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