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Testimony To The South Dakota Task Force To Study Abortion

In September of 05 , NAPW had an extraordinary opportunity to test the theory that by building on the lessons learned from our clients, our concurrent work on drug policy reform, and Terry McGovernıs research on building grassroots pro-choice activism, we could begin to go on the offensive in our efforts to advance reproductive and social justice in America. On September 22 Executive Director Lynn Paltrow testified by telephone before the South Dakota Task Force on abortion. Along with other experts ­ pro and anti-choice -- NAPW participated in an event clearly intended to lay the groundwork for new and even more punitive restrictions on access to abortion services in South Dakota and nationwide. During the testimony NAPW challenged the task force by asking why it was ignoring the health concerns of the majority of pregnant women ­ including the ones who continue to term and the ones who suffer miscarriages and stillbirths.

It's Not About The Ad

By Lynn M. Paltrow and Terry McGovern : From The New York Times to Fox News Channel, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) has been roundly criticized for running a television ad that portrayed U.S. Supreme Court nominee John Roberts as supporting violence at abortion clinics. In response to the outcry, NARAL withdrew the ad. But instead of debating the wisdom of one groupıs TV ads, we need to go back to basics.

What the Democrats Should Do

The Democratic National Party is reevaluating its position on abortion.  Some members are suggesting that democrats should move away from pro-choice positions while others, including Hillary Clinton, continue to defend abortion but in seemingly more muted and apologetic terms.

If the Frame Fits...

Lynn Paltrow, the brilliant lawyer who runs National Advocates for Pregnant Women, thinks the way to win grassroots support for abortion rights is to connect it to the whole range of reproductive and maternal rights: the right to have a home birth, to refuse a Caesarean section, to know that a miscarriage or stillbirth--or simply taking a drink--will not land you in jail.

Abortion Issue Divides, Distracts Us from Common Threats and Threads

I started my career defending a womanıs right to choose abortion and now run National Advocates for Pregnant Women, an organization that works on behalf of pregnant women and families. No, I havenıt had a political or religious conversion. What I have had is the opportunity to see how the abortion issue distracts us from shared political and family values.

Bishops' Attack on Pols Harms All U.S. Women

As the campaign season heats up it's a good time to take political stock of the Catholic bishops' June proclamation permitting bishops to refuse to give communion to pro-choice Catholic politicians.

Coercive Medicine

An arrest in Utah last week of a 28-year-old woman who allegedly committed murder by refusing to undergo a C-section represents a shocking abuse of state authority and a dangerous disregard for medical ethics.

Top Medical Doctors and Scientists Urge Major Media Outlets to Stop Perpetuating "Crack Baby" Myth

On February 25, 2004 thirty leading medical doctors, scientists and psychological researchers released a public letter calling on the media to stop the use of such terms as "crack baby" and "crack addicted baby and similarly stigmatizing terms, such as "ice babies" and "meth babies." This broad group of researchers agrees that these terms lack scientific validity and should not be used.

Criminal Prosecutions Against Pregnant Women: National Update and Overview (1992)

This documents the cases of an estimated 167 women who have been arrested on criminal charges because of their behavior during pregnancy or because they became pregnant while addicted to drugs. The cases are from twenty-four states. A disproportionate number of these cases come from just two states, Florida and South Carolina, and are concentrated in two counties in each of those states. This article is posted here with the permission of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Governmental Response to Pregnant Women Who Use Alcohol or Other Drugs (PDF, 730 Kbytes)

This Overview surveys civil and criminal laws directly addressing pregnant women's use of alcohol and other drugs. It reveals a patchwork of policies, some oriented toward treatment, some purportedly focused on child protection, some frankly punitive.

Our Common Struggle

The first person I saw when I arrived at the Second National Harm Reduction Conference in Cleveland, Ohio last October was the Reverend Howard Moody. Reverend Moody is a great hero of mine, and not only because of his current work organizing clergy to speak out against the drug war. As a reproductive rights litigator, I came to learn of his very critical and radical work to help legalize abortion. When abortion was illegal in this country -- and to say free abortion on demand was as radical as it is to say today "free drug treatment on demand" -- Rev. Howard Moody and Arlene Carmen organized the Clergy Consultation Service.

Perspective of a Reproductive Rights Attorney (PDF)

For some women in America, pregnancy is a crime. Women with addiction problems may be subject to a new array of punitive interventions by the government simply because they become pregnant. Prosecutors, acting like lawmakers, are prosecuting pregnant women under criminal laws never intended to apply to them. Similarly, child welfare advocates are promoting unfounded interpretations of civil child abuse and neglect laws to permit the removal of hundreds of children from their mothers, not because of evidence that the mothers will not properly care for their children, but rather because a single drug test indicates that the women used drugs once during pregnancy.

Punishing Women for Their Behavior During Pregnancy: An Approach That Undermines the Health of Women and Children (PDF)

For more than a decade, law enforcement personnel, judges, and elected officials nationwide have sought to punish women for their actions during pregnancy that may affect the fetuses they are carrying (Gallagher 1987). Women who are having children despite substance abuse problems have been a particular target, finding themselves pros- ecuted for such nonexistent crimes as 3fetal abuse2 and delivery of drugs through the umbilical cord. In addition, pregnant women are being civilly committed or jailed, and new mothers are losing custody of their children even when they would be capable parents. Meanwhile, State legislators have repeatedly introduced substance abuse and child welfare proposals that would penalize only pregnant women with addiction problems.

Punishment and Prejudice: Judging Drug-Using Pregnant Women

Throughout the late 1980's and still today, "crack moms" and "crack babies" are the subject of vigorous public debate. Much of this public discussion has been governed by speculation and medical misinformation reported as fact in both medical journals and in the popular press and has been extremely judgmental and punitive in many instances.

The Rights of Pregnant Patients: Carder Case Brings Bold Policy Initiatives

When George Washington University Medical Center ("GWUMC") developed and adopted groundbreaking policies concerning the rights of pregnant patients to make health care decisions without court intervention, it not only reversed its position on the appropriateness of court-ordered medical care,' but resolved three years of daunting litigation against it for having subjected 27-year-old Angela Carder to a life threatening court-ordered Caesarean section in June 1987

Treatment, not Sterilization, is the Way to Help Addicted Moms

Just as government data give us welcome news that crack use is on the decline, C.R.A.C.K., a private program that offers addicts $200 to use long-acting birth control or to get sterilized is attracting national support. While it is true that the financial incentive is modest; the numbers accepting the offer still relatively few (fewer than 400) and that at least some of the women express genuine appreciation for the program, there is cause for grave concern about this initiative because it promotes prejudice and perpetuates myths.

Pregnant Drug Users, Fetal Persons and the Threat to Roe v. Wade, 62 Albany Law Review 999 (1999) (PDF)

Roe v. Wade marked only the beginning of the struggle for reproductive justice for all women. Many women fall outside of its "core" protections. Among these are drug addicted pregnant women. This article addresses how the arrest and prosecution of these women, based on claims of fetal personhood, reflect the extent to which Roe is vulnerable. By linking anti-abortion arguments to other highly-charged political issues and to particularly marginalized groups of women, anti-choice advocates have made significant inroads on the limited rights won in Roe v. Wade. Twenty-five years after Roe v. Wade's decision that fetuses are not legal persons, claims of fetal personhood are gaining unprecedented legal recognition while the struggle for women's rights and full constitutional personhood remains far from finished.

The War On Drugs And The War On Abortion:
Some Initial Thoughts On The Connections, Intersections And The Effects,
28 Southern University Law Review 201 (2001)

This article identifies some of the remarkable similarities in the efforts to control and punish certain reproductive decisions and certain forms of drug use. The article, originally presented as part of the Southern University Law School's Symposium on Women's Rights as Human Rights: Intersectional Issues of Race and Gender Facing Women of Color, also addresses how efforts to control both reproduction and certain drugs disproportionately affect women of color.

Drug/Terror Ads and Kids Don't Mix
April 15, 2002 Alternet

Several weeks ago, my children and I watched a family movie on the ABC Family Channel, and together we were exposed to the entertaining and fascinating world of drugs, drug money and violence.

Pregnant Drug Users: Scapegoats of the Reagan/Bush and Clinton Era Economics

In this paper we present analyses of two National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded studies entitled, "An Ethnographic Study of Pregnancy and Drug Use" (Rosenbaum and Murphy 1991-94) and "An Ethnography of Victimization, Pregnancy and Drug Use,"

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