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July 30, 2008

An Invitation -- Not a Blog!

Please join me (Lynn Paltrow, NAPW's Executive Director) for:
Building Our Base: Advancing a Culture of Life that Values the Women Who Give that Life”
A Communications Connection Teleconference and Webinar
WHEN: August 7th, 2008; 2:00pm - 3:00pm EDT (11:00am - 12:00pm PDT)
TO SIGN UP: Please visit http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/community
If you have any questions about how to login please e-mail communicationsconnection@ddbissues.com.

This Communications Connection Teleconference and Webinar is sponsored by RH Reality Check. The Communications Connection web forum series is a service for the domestic reproductive rights community from DDB Issues & Advocacy, in partnership with RH Reality Check. It is generously supported by the David & Lucile Packard Foundation.

I will be speaking about the fact that many people in the U.S. work to protect the rights and dignity of pregnant women; however, the issue of abortion is so divisive that many of these advocates do not work together or even speak to one another.

All of them, from pro-choice advocates defending the right to choose abortion to birthing rights advocates pushing for compassionate, quality prenatal care, advocate for the same women, whatever their position on abortion.

Both groups struggle with policies undermining women's health and wellbeing. Both recognize women's need for support and information. Both are hurt by legislation so focused on restricting abortion that it overlooks pregnant women's other numerous health concerns.

Despite their differences, pro-choice and birthing rights advocates have begun to come together over their shared commitment to the health and rights of pregnant women. This talk will address progress towards expanding the Reproductive Justice base, legislative and policy proposals reflecting shared values and "pro-active" legislative possibilities, recent court decisions demonstrating connections between abortion and birthing activists, and the threat to all by measures like Colorado's ballot initiative conferring personhood at conception under the state constitution.

Please sign up and join us on August 7, 2008.

July 1, 2008

NAPW and Allies Speaking Out

This week has been a big one for getting hard issues discussed in serious ways. Today, the newspaper of record for South Carolina ran a commentary by Barry Lester, PhD. and Sue Veer entitled A Measure of Justice for Regina McKnight. Starting on Sunday the L.A. Daily News began running a series about child welfare policies that routinely remove newborns from low-income women based on unconsented to and unconfirmed positive drug tests. This series by Troy Anderson, and entitled Drug war on moms. Toddler, newborn wrongly torn from family in stepped-up screening of pregnant women begins this way:

Awakened by late-night pounding and his doorbell ringing, Palmdale resident Jesus Bejarano found a social worker and two sheriff's deputies demanding he turn over his 20-month-old daughter, Kelly.

The social worker said Bejarano's 29-year-old wife, Cheila Herrera, had tested positive for amphetamines and PCP at Antelope Valley Hospital after giving birth to the couple's son a week earlier.
Their son, Jesse, who was born prematurely and was still at the hospital, had already been placed in protective custody.

"It was terrible," Herrera said of the Feb. 14 ordeal. "It was pretty shocking to us. We didn't know what to do or say. We called my mom, saying, `They are taking our baby away.'

"We started calling friends, but no one we know has gone through something like this. We were crying. We thought, oh my God, they took our baby."

Last month, the couple sued Los Angeles County government for unspecified damages, saying Herrera had never used drugs and the social worker ignored a battery of expensive tests that proved the initial drug-test results were wrong.

Experts say the case highlights widespread problems with California's system of drug-testing pregnant mothers, using urine-screening tests that produce false-positives up to 70percent of the time, and inconsistent compliance by hospitals with a state law designed to regulate the process.

Sidebar stories include: Seized baby dies in foster care; False Positives are common in drug tests on new moms;; and Hospital staff more likely to screen minority mothers.

NAPW is proud to be quoted in the story and to have played a large role, along with many of our allies, in getting these counterproductive, discriminatory, and costly policies exposed.

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