Dear Friends and Allies,
As you likely know, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a challenge to Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, a law explicitly designed to challenge Roe v. Wade. The state of Mississippi is not only defending the state’s 15-week ban, it is asking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe altogether. Mississippi is arguing that states, in the interest of "protecting unborn life," women’s health, and the medical profession’s integrity; should be allowed to outlaw all abortions. The Supreme Court now stands at the precipice of overturning Roe, and with it, nearly 50 years of precedent.
NAPW knows that Roe v. Wade has benefitted all people with the capacity for pregnancy, not just those who seek abortions. That decision not only protects a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy but also, as later Supreme Court cases explained, has been relied upon to counter attempts to interfere with a woman’s decision to become pregnant or to carry her pregnancy to term. If Roe is overturned or substantially limited, and we expect that it will be, it’s not just people who seek abortions who will be harmed. Even with Roe on the books, we see police, prosecutors, and judges misusing their power to criminalize pregnancy and all of its possible outcomes – including pregnancy loss, birth, and abortion. Without Roe's protections, any person with the capacity for pregnancy could be subject to surveillance, arrest, prosecution or other punitive state action at the discretion of a local prosecutor, child protection worker, or doctor.
As we ready ourselves for the Dobbs case and all that is at stake, we continue to defend women facing unprecedented expansions of state law from Alabama to Arizona. Just yesterday, we were in state court in Alabama, fighting to dismiss the charges in the case of our client, Kim Blalock, who struggled with chronic pain while pregnant. The prosecutor is arguing that filling a valid prescription for needed pain medication while pregnant can constitute unlawful possession of a drug by fraud. One of Ms. Blalock’s doctors is now claiming that he didn’t know she was pregnant. He also is now claiming that if he had known, he would, contrary to best medical and ethical standards, use the fact that she was pregnant as a basis for ending her pain medication. We believe this is the first case of its kind in the country and marks yet another attempt by a prosecutor to radically expand an existing criminal law to police and penalize pregnant patients.
The attacks on our rights are relentless but NAPW remains steadfast in our mission. As you learn more about what we’ve been up to this summer, we hope you'll consider making a donation to support our work, which is needed now more than ever.
Lynn M. Paltrow
Founder and Executive Director
National Advocates for Pregnant Women
Fighting for Lindsay R., an Arizona Mother Facing Penalties for Using Medical Marijuana to Treat Severe Pregnancy-Related and Chronic Conditions
On Friday, July 1, NAPW, as lead amici, filed a brief on behalf of 45 leading health organizations, doctors, ethicists, scientific and medical experts, and advocates, including actor Amy Schumer, in support of Lindsay R., a mother found guilty of civil child neglect and placed on Arizona’s Child Abuse Central Registry because she used medical marijuana while pregnant pursuant to a valid medical certification and suffered from acute hyperemesis gravidarum.
A Conversation with Lynn M. Paltrow at the 2021 rePRO Film Fest
The feature documentary Bei Bei, about Bei Bei Shuai, who was charged with attempted feticide and murder for attempting suicide while pregnant, is screening at this year’s rePRO Film Fest.
NAPW aided Bei Bei Shuai’s case through legal representation and advocacy, public education, and national/grassroots organizing with our partners, including the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF).
View the film and make sure to watch the “Call-to-Action Conversation” with the film’s directors, Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt, NAPW's Founder and Executive Director Lynn M. Paltrow, and NAPAWF's Chief Strategic Partnerships and Research Officer Jennifer Wang.
Watch the panel recording here. (Use the code rePRO21 for a $2 discount off your individual film ticket.)
In Case You Missed It
Watch: CAPTA/CARA, Pregnancy, Drug Testing, and Hospitals
In partnership with The Bronx Defenders, Movement for Family Power, NYCLU, Brooklyn Defender Services, Elephant Circle, and Ancient Song Doula Services, we held two teach-ins covering the history of the family regulation system and its relationship to the war on drugs, federal CAPTA/CARA laws regarding funding for state child welfare programs, and the NYC Commission on Human Rights' investigation into three hospital systems' drug testing policies and practices.
This is a must watch event for anyone wishing to learn how the war on drugs and the family regulation system are intertwined, targeted to Black, Latinx, and Indigenous families, and what is being done in NYC to address it.
Watch: If Roe Goes, More than Abortion is at Stake
On July 23, we hosted a panel discussion featuring leaders in social work, law, medicine, and birth justice about the direct impact of fetal protection laws on pregnant people. Wisconsin's Act 292, the "Unborn Child Protection Act," was discussed as an example, and experts connected what they're seeing on the ground to the broader "fetal personhood" movement, the potential impact of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and what is at stake for all people with the capacity for pregnancy.
NAPW is offering a free on-demand screening of the documentary PERSONHOOD: Policing Pregnant Women in America,* which focuses on our client Tamara Loertscher who brought a federal lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s Unborn Child Protection Act (Act 292) after medical staff and state actors transformed her efforts to obtain medical care during her pregnancy into the basis for forced, unnecessary treatment and then incarceration.
*Please log in with the screening code NAPW821 only when you're ready to view the film. You will have 24 hours to watch once you've entered the code. The screening window is open from August 11-26.
NAPW In The News