Sunday, February 14, 2016

Laws increasingly used to punish pregnant women | Repro Health Watch

Repro Health Watch

Laws increasingly used to punish pregnant women | February 10, 2016

At the same time that antiabortion-rights lawmakers across the country are working to restrict access to abortion care, pregnant women are being criminalized for their pregnancy outcomes. States are targeting pregnant women with feticide laws and laws penalizing drug use, disproportionately impacting low-income women and women of color. Despite both new and continued attacks, women's health advocates are fighting back.

Featured Blog: Laws criminalizing pregnant women put people who need health care in handcuffs

Glass.jpgAllison Glass, State Director, Healthy & Free Tennessee
In 2014, Tennessee enacted a law that threatens women with jail time if they give birth to babies who are shown to have been affected by the use of narcotics during pregnancy. As a result, women are being randomly drug tested in the hospital after giving birth, and arrested days after bringing home their babies. Others are being targeted for disclosing a past history of drug use at a prenatal visit. This law has been used to punish women who have used narcotic drugs and given birth to healthy babies, as well as women who never used drugs. A law that was touted to be about encouraging pregnant women and new mothers who have used drugs to seek treatment has instead meant dragging women into the criminal justice system. More »

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States increasingly penalize pregnant women for drug use

Some states are working to penalize pregnant women who use drugs, countering advice from medical groups that recommend such women receive treatment instead, the Daily Beast reports. More »

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Featured video: Documentary outlines consequences of 'feticide' laws

"To Prison for Pregnancy," a new documentary from Brave New Films, explores how feticide laws in the United States are being used to penalize women, and in particular minority and low-income women, as well as preventing them from seeking prenatal care.


Ala. health task force proposes amendments to state chemical endangerment law

A health task force subcommittee appointed by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) proposed amendments to the state's child chemical endangerment statute that has led to the arrest of at least 479 pregnant women since 2006, reports. More »

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Editorial urges Tenn. lawmakers to sunset law targeting pregnant women who use drugs

A Los Angeles Times editorial calls on Tennessee lawmakers to sunset a 2014 state law (SB 1391) that "allow[s] women who give birth to babies 'harmed by' illegal drug usage to be charged with misdemeanor assault." More »

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Mo. lawmaker proposes bill to criminalize drug use during pregnancy

Missouri Rep. Jered Taylor (R) pre-filed a bill (HB 1903) that would make it illegal for a pregnant woman to use drugs, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports. More »

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Woman pleads not guilty to attempted murder charge after trying to self-induce abortion

A Tennessee woman who allegedly tried to self-induce an abortion at 24 weeks of pregnancy pleaded not guilty to a charge of attempted first-degree murder, Reuters reports. More »

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Three antiabortion-rights bills introduced in Colo. House

Colorado lawmakers have proposed three antiabortion-rights measures in the state House, including one (HB 16-1007) that would allow prosecutors to bring homicide or other assault charges against an individual who commits a criminal act that terminates a pregnancy, the Colorado Independent reports. More »

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Click on the map to see what's going on in your state:

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Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership

Sarah Lipton-Lubet, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership

Jessi Leigh Swenson, associate editor & senior policy counsel, National Partnership

Freya Riedlin, associate editor & reproductive health law fellow, National Partnership

Lauren Sogor, assistant editor & health communications manager, National Partnership

Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications associate, National Partnership

Marcelle Maginnis, associate editor

Justyn Ware, senior editor

Amanda Wolfe, senior director

Joe Infantino, Rachel Schulze, staff writers

Tucker Ball, chief digital officer, National Partnership

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The information contained in this publication reflects media coverage of women's health issues and does not necessarily reflect the views of the National Partnership for Women & Families. The Women's Health Policy Report is a free service of the National Partnership for Women & Families, by The Advisory Board Company.

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