NAPW's Work Featured in Brilliant NYT Editorial Board Series!

Dear Friends and Allies,

Today the New York Times published a groundbreaking 8-part series featuring NAPW's work. Following the publication of my op-ed in the New York Times, members of the Editorial Board invited me to meet with them. I had the privilege of speaking with them about NAPW's mission including our work providing criminal defense for pregnant women - whether they go to term, experience a pregnancy loss, or have an abortion. I was invited back again a few weeks later. The editorial team was inspired by NAPW's analysis. They had decided to address how anti-abortion measures, including feticide laws and so called "fetal personhood" measures, impact the rights of all women. NAPW staff then spent weeks providing research, data, legal case histories, and legislative analysis, as well as introductions to some of our clients including Anne Bynum. On December 28, the New York Times Editorial Board squarely addressed the core issues, frameworks, and cases NAPW has worked on for more than 17 years. Below, please find excerpts from this amazing editorial series featuring our work, our clients, and some quotes from me.

I am more than proud of the NAPW team and grateful to our clients who so generously and courageously shared their stories. This series captures what we do, what is at stake for all women, and why your support is so needed.

With best wishes for the New Year,

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


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Read the full series here.


"Women facing these harrowing situations have few advocates beyond a handful of scholars and lawyers, with one nonprofit group, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, frequently organizing their defense."

"Katherin Shuffield was five months pregnant when she was shot in 2008. She survived, but she lost the twins she was carrying. The gunman, Brian Kendrick, was charged with murdering them.

Bei Bei Shuai was eight months pregnant and depressed when she tried to kill herself in 2010. She was rushed to the hospital and survived, but her baby died a few days later. Ms. Shuai was charged with murder.

Both cases are tragedies. But are Ms. Shuai and the man who shot Ms. Shuffield really both murderers?

Ms. Shuai is one of several hundred pregnant women who have faced criminal charges since 1973 for acts seen as endangering their pregnancies, according to National Advocates for Pregnant Women, which has completed the only peer-reviewed study of arrests and forced interventions on pregnant women in the United States. In many cases, the laws under which these women were charged were ostensibly written to protect them. Ms. Shuai, for instance, was charged under a law that was stiffened after the attack on Ms. Shuffield."

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Part 3: The Cost of Complacency About Roe

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"Legislative initiatives with roots in crack hysteria continued to resonate across the country. As Lynn Paltrow, the founder and executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, noted a decade ago : 'New legislative proposals on the subject of drug-using pregnant women appear each year throughout the country at both the federal and state levels. Unfortunately, legislators continue to introduce highly punitive bills proposing to criminalize pregnancy and addiction, to mandate sterilization of women who give birth despite addiction problems and to treat a single positive drug test as presumptive child neglect.'"

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Part 5: The Mothers Society Condemns

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"In fact, according to ProPublica, women in at least 45 states have faced criminal charges for drug use during pregnancy, in most cases through a mix of prosecutorial and judicial overreach. And according to National Advocates for Pregnant Women, an advocacy and legal group that works on cases like Ms. Dischman's in just about every state, expectant mothers with a history or suspicion of drug use face a litany of assaults on their civil and human rights: nonconsensual drug testing that violates Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure; arbitrary family separations that ignore due process laws; court supervision that undercuts medical privacy; and compulsory treatment that violates the individual right to choose.

'We have taken what is fundamentally a health problem and made it into a criminal law problem. We've used the criminalization of certain drugs for ... controlling certain groups of people, particularly black and brown people,' says the founder and executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, Lynn Paltrow. That this dynamic is 'being used as a mechanism for controlling pregnant people should come as no surprise.'"

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Part 6: Can a Corpse Give Birth?
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Read the Muñoz family's story.

Part 7: How My Stillbirth Became a Crime
(Click on the image to watch Anne Bynum's story)

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Part 8: The Future of Personhood Nation
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"The doctrine of fetal personhood represents a sharp break from the great traditions of Western law that, at their philosophical core, seek to preserve space for the individual to live free from the tremendous power of the state. That this doctrine is acquiring the force of law within the United States should deeply concern Americans - men and women - who value their freedoms."

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