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May 16, 2009

President Obama at Notre Dame, the Bishops and the "Right to Life"

Notre Dame University's invitation to President Obama to give the commencement speech this year has aroused significant controversy. NAPW's commentary about this issue now appears in the Huffingtonpost.com and also on RhRealitycheck.

The USCCB says that its political positions are based on the belief that “all human life is sacred." They cite this quotation from Archbishop John Roach, as the expression of their guiding vision: "We are committed to full legal recognition of the right to life of the unborn child, and will not rest in our efforts until society respects the inherent worth and dignity of every member of the human race." Yet an examination of the USCCB’s public positions in two high profile legal cases, described in a chart NAPW developed, raises a key question: Does the USCCB believe that all human life – except that of pregnant women -- is sacred?

May 4, 2009

Coerced abortion? Try saying no to Cesarean Surgery!

Last week the Huffingtonpost and RhRealitycheck ran our latest commentary Concerned about coerced abortion? Try saying no to Cesarean Surgery, discussing legislation in twelve states that claims to protect pregnant women from coercion when they seek abortions but ignores real evidence of the fact that women in labor and childbirth are too often denied the opportunity to make fully informed decisions. We hope that you will read the commentary and spread the word. NAPW is also proud to let you know that we have been nominated for the Our Bodies Ourselves Women's Health Hero. You can vote for us, or just enjoy reading all of the nominations, including those of many of our allies and friends.

Kate Jack, NAPW's newest staff attorney, has been invited to blog for the American Constitution Society. Her first blog, Federal Appeals Court, States Reexamining Shackling of Pregnant Inmates, discusses our work on behalf of pregnant, imprisoned women. We have also just posted a new Youtube video: Challenging The Myths: Pregnant Women, Crack, & Healthy Children who Succeed. Watch the fabulous Mary Barr answer the question: What kind of kids & teens do children prenatally exposed to cocaine turn out to be?

In Indiana, we helped to get a felony child neglect charge dismissed against Brooke Honaker who carried her pregnancy to term in spite of a drug problem. This case was originally discussed in a news article that highlighted NAPW's work on behalf of drug-using pregnant women. NAPW prepared a memo for local counsel demonstrating that Indiana precedent (some of which our staff helped establish years ago) clearly barred the neglect charge against Ms. Honaker. Local defense counsel, Mr. Jon Owen, used this information in a motion to dismiss. We are happy to report that the court granted the motion.

This case and many like it make clear the need for and value of NAPW's persistence and vigilance.

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