Rinat Dray Decision Proves How Hard it is for Women Subjected to Forced Surgeries to Get Justice

On April 4, 2018, a mid-level New York appeals court ruled against Rinat Dray, reminding us of the enormous challenges women face when they seek redress for obstetric violence through the court system.

In this case Ms. Dray had gone to Staten Island University Hospital to deliver her third child.

Arkansas Court of Appeals Overturns Criminal Conviction for Concealing a Birth

March 14, 2018

The Arkansas Court of Appeals has issued a unanimous ruling reversing Anne Bynum’s conviction for “concealing a birth” that resulted in a sentence of six years in prison. The criminal charge and conviction stemmed from the state’s claims about Ms. Bynum’s actions after she experienced a stillbirth at home in 2015. The three-judge panel found that the trial court in Drew County had abused its discretion by allowing the jury to consider evidence about Ms. Bynum’s past pregnancies and outcomes including abortion, that “clearly prejudiced” the verdict in the case.

NAPW Argues in Arkansas Court of Appeals in Case of Woman Charged with Crimes After Stillbirth

On January 24, 2018, NAPW consulting attorney Dan Arshack argued before the Arkansas Court of Appeals on behalf of Anne Bynum, a woman who experienced a stillbirth at home and was convicted for "concealing a birth" and sentenced to six years in prison after she was alleged to have waited several hours to bring the fetal remains to the hospital and did not tell her mother about her pregnancy.

State of the Union: Who will defend and advocate for the pregnant woman?

During the January 2018 State of the Union address, we heard President Trump declare that his "administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic and helping get treatment for those in need." But rather than describing how the government will expand access to drug treatment (and no plans have been put forward for an increase in funding this year) he launched into a story about a police officer in New Mexico who saw "a pregnant, homeless woman preparing to inject heroin.

NAPW and Allies Support Rinat Dray

On Monday, December 4th four justices of the Appellate Division of New York Supreme Court heard arguments in the Dray case. Rinat Dray is a mother who is suing Staten Island University Hospital and doctors there because, pursuant to a secret (not disclosed to patients) hospital policy, they forced her to have cesarean surgery even though she clearly refused.

NAPW Achieving Justice in These Unjust Times

Despite national and international developments that make many of us feel less than hopeful, NAPW has had a number of victories that remind us of the need to celebrate the accomplishments we have had.

Victories, Patel Update, TN Wrap-up, and Global Connections

NAPW challenge to Wisconsin law will go to federal court

On Sept. 30, a federal district court judge issued a ruling that allows NAPW to go forward with a constitutional challenge to Wisconsin's so-called "cocaine mom law." Passed in 1997, this law allows the state to detain pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy, if they use or admit to past use of alcohol or drugs.

NAPW marks 2 legal victories in states that have incarcerated women based on pregnancy and drug-use claims; Appeal will free Arkansas woman, Wisconsin case moves forward

NEW YORK - On Oct. 8, the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed the conviction of Melissa McCann Arms, who was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for introducing a controlled substance into the body of another person when she gave birth in 2013. The Arms v. State of Arkansas victory comes a week after a federal district court ruling that allowed a constitutional challenge to the 1997 Wisconsin "cocaine mom" law to go forward.