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July 12, 2018

Yes the sky is falling...Together, we will hold up the sky


The last few weeks have been horrendous. The Muslim ban (too often misnamed a travel ban), the decision allowing fake clinics to deny pregnant women truthful information (making a mockery of free speech principles), and the attack on workers (overturning long-standing precedent and striking down public sector union fees).

And then there was the announcement of Justice Kennedy's resignation. Justice Kennedy has long served as the swing vote on the Supreme Court and has been called the "firewall" against efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade.

There is no sugar-coating any of this. It is all very bad.

But we have our voices, our bodies, and our fierce commitment to justice.

With the possible loss of Roe v. Wade now seeming ever more likely, NAPW's voice is more important than ever.

First, we note that this is not the 1960s - there are new safe and effective ways to end a pregnancy outside of a medical setting (for more information about this please see https://plancpills.org/ and https://abortionpillinfo.org/en/sass).

Second, we know that far more than abortion is at stake. Every arrest, prosecution of, and forced surgery on a pregnant woman - and every pregnancy-related child welfare intervention - relies on anti-abortion law and theory. Roe, at least in principle, protected all pregnant women, including those who wanted to go to term. And just as the strategy behind the Masterpiece Cake Shop litigation (discrimination against gay people in the guise of religious liberty) is ultimately to reverse Supreme Court precedent addressing racism and requiring desegregation, the goal regarding Roe is undoubtedly to remove all the constitutional protections that have been gained for women (not just abortion).

NAPW has the resolve to keep fighting, no matter what. In fact, we were preparing for this day. Since Trump took office, NAPW has almost doubled our staff, including bringing on three experienced staff attorneys. In addition, because we have long known that litigation and legal advocacy are never enough, we are supporting new direct grassroots action.

NAPW has the criminal defense expertise to defend women who are facing criminal charges for having abortions or experiencing pregnancy losses. And that is exactly what we are doing for Anne Bynum in Arkansas. Unfortunately, the prosecutor has decided to re-try her for the crime of concealing a birth, even after we succeeded in getting the Court of Appeals to reverse her original conviction. Concealing a birth is the crime that is fast becoming the go-to charge for women who experience pregnancy losses or have abortions at home (we are already seeing an increase in the number of arrests of women in relationship to their pregnancies).

On July 2, we filed a petition in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals asking for all the judges of that court to review the Loertscher decision that seems to foreclose access to the federal court system for women who want to challenge laws recognizing rights for the "unborn" and authorizing total state control over pregnant women.

On Saturday, June 30, we demonstrated against policies that separate and lock-up families. We will continue to show up and protest family separation in all its forms -- including separations carried out by child welfare authorities.

In the meantime, if you can, please make a generous contribution to NAPW to help us defend the growing number of pregnant women being targeted for arrest and detention, and to support all of our work for reproductive health, rights, and justice.

Together we will win.


With love, hope, and solidarity,


Lynn M. Paltrow
Founder and Executive Director
National Advocates for Pregnant Women