Fact Sheets

Clinical Drug Testing of Pregnant Women and Newborns

April 17, 2019

Pregnant and postpartum women and their newborn babies are typically drug tested in medical settings without their knowledge or explicit, informed consent. Positive toxicology results are too often reported to government officials and used to support criminal and civil child abuse or neglect prosecutions. Such medical test results should never be used to prosecute women or accuse them of bad parenting. It is particularly concerning that these test results may not even be accurate or reliable. Read NAPW's fact sheet for more information about clinical drug testing.

How We Know That Criminal Abortion Laws Don’t Protect Women from Violence

February 21, 2019

Broadening the Conversation About and Celebration of New York’s Reproductive Health Act

February 21, 2019

Understanding CAPTA and State Obligations

December 19, 2018

Read NAPW’s fact sheet “Understanding CAPTA and State Obligations” for additional information on the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and what does and does not require.

"Rights Over My Birth" resource

December 19, 2018

Understanding Opioid Use During Pregnancy

June 07, 2018

Opioid use and dependency among pregnant women in the United States has increasingly been the subject of new state laws and policies. Unfortunately, this has not led to increased funding for treatment, and misinformation has resulted in harmful policy decisions. Download this fact sheet for more information about opioid use during pregnancy, neonatal abstinence syndrome, and best practices for improving maternal and fetal health.

Medical and Public Health Group Statements Opposing Prosecution and Punishment of Pregnant Women

June 01, 2018

Every leading medical and public health organization to address the issue of pregnant women and drug use has taken a position opposing punitive approaches as dangerous to maternal, fetal and child health. Please download this fact sheet providing summaries of and citations to these statements.

Trumpcare's Uncaring Impact on Pregnant Women

March 22, 2017

This fact sheet from NAPW explains how Trumpcare targets Planned Parenthood and is likely to impact pregnant women in particular. Click here for a pdf of the fact sheet.

NAPW response to Reuters investigation of reporting of drug use, child welfare and infant deaths

December 14, 2015

Read full response here.

Letter to DHHS re. Section 1557 of ACA

November 16, 2015

NAPW encourages the Department of Health and Human Services to not include a specific exemption for health providers, health plans, and other covered entities on the basis of religious beliefs in its rule making on Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.

Read letter here.

NY: Anti-Shackling Letter to Gov. Cuomo

November 09, 2015

NAPW urges Governor Cuomo to sign the 2015 Anti-Shackling Bill to expand protections for pregnant women in New York State prisons and jails.

Download NAPW's letter to Governor Cuomo

Federal S 799: Protecting Out Infants Act of 2015 Letter

November 09, 2015

NAPW commends the good intentions behind the Protecting our Infants Act of 2015, but believes that the Act will in fact reinforce gender stereotypes, stigmatize drug use, and lead to punitive civil and criminal sanctions against pregnant women and girls.

Download NAPW's Letter to Senator Mitch McConnell re. Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015

North Carolina's 2015 SB 297

April 07, 2015

Fact sheets available for download about North Carolina's 2015 SB 297, a bill proposed "to create the criminal offense of prenatal narcotic drug use."

North Carolina SB 297: http://bit.ly/NCSB297

NAPW Fact Sheet about SB 297: http://bit.ly/NAPWNCSB297

Fact Sheet developed by local North Carolina advocates about SB 297: http://bit.ly/NCPtsSB297

Arkansas 2015 HB 1376 Opposition Letter

April 06, 2015

Download Arkansas 2015 HB 1376 Opposition Letter.

Open Letters From Medical Doctors, Scientists, & Specialists Urging Media To End Inaccurate Reporting on Pregnancy & Drug Use

January 23, 2015

2004 - Top Medical Doctors and Scientists Urge Major Media Outlets to Stop Perpetuating “Crack Baby” Myth - Download file.

2005 - Open Letter From Doctors, Scientists, & Specialists Urging Major Media Outlets Not to Create “Meth Baby” Myth - Download file.

2013 - Open Letter to the Media and Policy Makers Regarding Alarmist and Inaccurate Reporting on Prescription Opioid Use by Pregnant Women - Download file.

Don’t Judge Pregnant Drug-Using Women Based on Junk Science

December 19, 2014

Download pdf here.

Value Pregnant Women and Mothers: Vote NO on Colorado Amendment 67

October 06, 2014

Learn more about the facts behind Colorado's Amendment 67. Download the Fact Sheet below:

Download in English.

Download in Spanish.

Prenatal Exposure to Illegal Drugs and Alcohol: Media Hype and Enduring Myths Are Not Supported By Science

March 24, 2010

Download a pdf of this fact sheet here

Based on the extraordinary misinformation that appeared frequently in the popular press, many people believe that a pregnant woman who uses any amount of an illegal drug or alcohol will inevitably harm or even kill her fetus. But media hype is not the same as science. As explained by Dr. Deborah Frank in this on-line video, Prenatal Drug Exposure: Award-Winning Pediatrician Discusses What The Science Tells Us,[i] popular news reports have misrepresented the scientific facts about prenatal exposure to drugs.

Utah Bill Creating the Crime of Criminal Homicide of an Unborn Child Will Affect All Pregnant Women

January 12, 2010

Utah Representative Carl Wimmer has proposed a bill, H.B. 12, which purports to make it a crime for a woman to solicit a non-physician abortion or to perform an abortion on herself, at all stages of pregnancy. It permits certain abortions if performed by physicians. What the sponsor claims to want to accomplish with this legislation is to ensure that self-abortions may be punished as murder or attempted murder. The bill, however, is written in such a way as to affect all pregnant women including those who have no intention of ending a pregnancy. This bill, if enacted, would apply to any and all pregnancy losses even at the earliest stages of pregnancy and to all actions, inactions, conditions and circumstances that may be characterized or perceived as a threat to the life of an unborn child—regardless of the woman’s intent.

You can download our analysis of the bill here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Methadone and Pregnancy

September 11, 2009

Download PDF file

Questions and Answers Regarding Introduction of Scientific Evidence in New York Family Court

August 20, 2009

The significant and well-documented public misunderstanding, stigma, and cultural myth
surrounding drug use and addiction, particularly in the context of pregnancy and
parenting, strongly suggests the need for expert testimony to clarify these issues to the
court and to ensure diligent representation and zealous advocacy on behalf of the parties

This legal memo establishes the rules of evidence which should be used in court and provides resources and arguments to insist that real science is presented in court.

Download PDF File.

Sample Consent Form for Urine Toxicology Screening

March 18, 2009

The following is the policy and consent form developed and approved by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation to be used at all HHC facilities. The policy briefly outlines the risks, benefits and alternatives for testing prenatal and intrapartal patients and it addresses questions and concerns that have arisen regarding this issue.

Does Your State Value the Women Who Give Life?

March 01, 2007

Despite the many issues affecting women's health and lives, bills to further restrict abortion are likely to be the primary focus of your legislature's session this year. As a result of this extensive attention to this one aspect of pregnant women's lives, chances are that your state legislature will not address many other health issues of concern to pregnant women and mothers — not breast cancer nor heart disease, not the lack of health insurance for millions of women and children nor the lack of access to mother-friendly childbirth. Here are some suggestions for action you and your state can take to ensure that policies to advance a culture of life, values the women who give that life:
Download file

What's Wrong With Making It a Crime to be Pregnant and to Have a Drug Problem?

March 09, 2006

Laws that make it a crime to be pregnant and addicted undermine women's and children's health and seriously threaten women's reproductive rights. Moreover, they are based on a number of unsubstantiated and costly myths.

Arresting Pregnant Women for Drug Use

September 27, 2001

Download Microsoft Word file
Compiled by Drug Policy Alliance. Sept 27, 2000.

What's Wrong With Presuming Neglect of Drug Exposed Newborns?

February 21, 2001

Download PDF file