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January 27, 2015

NAPW Annual Event at the University Club on Wed, Jan. 28th POSTPONED

NAPW Annual Event at the University Club on Wed, Jan. 28th POSTPONED - Further details to follow by email.

January 23, 2015

Roe v. Wade at 42: Important for All Women

On this 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade -- when the spotlight is on the right to decide whether or not to have an abortion -- let's remember that Roe benefits all pregnant women. As the US Supreme Court said in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Roe "has been sensibly relied upon to counter...suggestions that the State might as readily restrict a woman's right to choose to carry a pregnancy to term as to terminate it."

Yet, ALL pregnant women -- whether seeking to end a pregnancy or go to term -- are finding that their rights and personhood are under attack.

In Wisconsin, Tamara Loertscher is challenging Wisconsin's "cocaine mom" law used to strip pregnant women of virtually every civil right associated with constitutional personhood. NAPW, along with our co-counsel at the Carr Center for Reproductive Justice at NYU School of Law and the law firm Perkins Coie in Madison, recently filed a motion asking a federal district court to declare the law unconstitutional and stop it from being used again.

In New York, Rinat Dray has sued a Staten Island hospital and its medical staff for malpractice for forcing her to have cesarean surgery over her objection and without her consent. The hospital is defending what happened by suggesting that a pregnant woman going to term loses all of her rights -- including the rights to medical decision making and bodily integrity. NAPW filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief explaining that Roe does not mean that there is a point in pregnancy in which pregnant women lose their civil rights, and describing the increasing recognition by international human rights laws and other nations that forced medical procedures on pregnant women are "obstetric violence," a form of gender-based violence.

And throughout the nation, the fight continues not only for all women to have the right to abortion, but also for access to it. Today, members of the House planned to vote on a 20-week abortion ban, but at the eleventh hour decided not to. (Read NAPW's analysis of such bans, "Are Pregnant Women Persons After 20 Weeks?"). Despite this small victory, the House replaced the 20-week ban proposal with one that would extend the ban on federal funding for abortion. Abortion restrictions like these are deeply problematic for all pregnant women. And for women who seek to find a way to end their pregnancies, it has become increasingly clear that they may face prosecution and incarceration. For example, the state of Indiana charged Purvi Patel with feticide for allegedly attempting to terminate her own pregnancy with medication. As NAPW's amicus brief filed in that case explains, jailing women for having abortions violates their constitutional and human rights, undermines public health, and hurts women and their families.

As 2015 begins, NAPW asks for your continued support for our work to protect what should be the real meaning of Roe: that a woman is a person with civil and human rights throughout her pregnancy.

January 16, 2015

Wisconsin Pregnant Woman Who Sought Medical Help And Was Jailed Seeks Injunction Against State Law Used Against Her


Contact: Sara Ainsworth, (212) 255-9252 sla@advocatesforpregnantwomen.org; Lynn Paltrow, (212) 255-9252, lmp@advocatesforpregnantwomen.org

Madison, Wisconsin: Lawyers for Tamara Loertscher, a Wisconsin pregnant woman who was detained and jailed when she sought medical help, have filed a motion asking a federal court to halt enforcement of the state law used to deprive her of her freedom and access to prenatal care. The motion for preliminary injunction, filed last week, explains in detail the ways in which Wisconsin's law, known when it was enacted as the "cocaine mom" law, strips pregnant women of nearly every civil right associated with constitutional personhood and endangers the health of pregnant women and babies. Because Ms. Loertscher was required to file portions of the motion under seal, only the public portion is available, and can be found here: http://bit.ly/1yd8tkf.

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