our mission

National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW), established as a 501(c)(3) organization in 2001, works to secure the human and civil rights, health and welfare of all women, focusing particularly on pregnant and parenting women, and those who are most vulnerable to state control and punishment - low income women, women of color, and drug-using women.

Advocacy groups from the United States are partnering on November 25, the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to raise awareness of a lesser-known type of gender-based violence: abuse and disrespect in childbirth, also known as obstetric violence. They join the international Roses Revolution campaign founded by Spanish activist Jesusa Ricoy in 2011, as part of a growing understanding by researchers and advocates that disrespectful care in birth — such as bullying, threats, and unconsented examinations and procedures — harms women’s rights and health. The annual day of action kicks off a global campaign of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence.

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We want to make respectful care the norm everywhere, but let's start where we know it's a problem. Staten Island University Hospital is a leader in VBAC support and a low cesarean rate, but their policies call for forced cesareans (by court order or not) when patients disagree with their physicians. One such woman, Rinat Dray, made national headlines in 2014 when she filed suit after she was operated on against her will in Staten Island, N.Y. The cesarean surgery left Dray with permanent damage to her bladder, and the trauma she experienced from being operated on against her will has made her dream of having more children seem like a nightmare. This is not acceptable, but it's something they can change. Help us make that happen. The Roses Revolution (USA) is a collective effort of the Birth Rights Bar Association, Choices in Childbirth, Elephant Circle, Human Rights in Childbirth, ImprovingBirth.org, and National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

Visit the event's facebook page, sign and share this online petition, and stay tuned for details about upcoming community events.

Victory in Arkansas

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On Oct. 8, the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed the conviction of Melissa McCann Arms, who was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for introducing a controlled substance into the body of another person when she gave birth in 2013. In its ruling, the Arkansas Supreme Court concluded that the intent of Arkansas' law was to prevent the drugging of another person through the use of "knock-out drugs" and not to punish women who become pregnant and deliver despite drug use.

NAPW Senior Staff Attorney Farah Diaz-Tello, who argued the case before the court (watch the oral argument video here), said: "This law was used in a way that was never intended by the Arkansas legislature. We are not only glad to see this acknowledged by the highest court of Arkansas, but glad that other women like Ms. Arms will not have to go through arrest, interrogation, and separation from their newborn for giving birth and testing positive for a controlled substance. We hope Ms. Arms will be released from prison immediately, quickly reunited with her child and have this conviction expunged from her record."

Read more about the case in this Huffington Post article.

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