Statement in Support of California AG’s Statewide Alert Regarding Legal Protections for Pregnant People

Remarks by Samantha Lee, Staff Attorney, as part of Attorney General Rob Bonta's press conference on 1/6/2022.

Thank you, Attorney General Bonta. My name is Samantha Lee and I am a staff attorney at National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

As an organization dedicated to advancing the civil and human rights of all people capable of pregnancy, National Advocates for Pregnant Women is honored to stand with Attorney General Bonta in support of this legal alert instructing district attorneys, police chiefs, and county sheriffs in California not to misuse the state’s murder statute to criminalize people for their pregnancy outcomes.

NAPW Files Amicus Brief in the Case of Adora Perez, a California Woman Serving an 11-Year Sentence for Manslaughter After Experiencing a Stillbirth

Adora Perez was charged with murder in 2018 after she delivered a stillborn baby at Adventist Hospital in Hanford, California. District Attorney Keith Fagundes claimed, without scientific basis, that the stillbirth was caused by methamphetamine use. Penal Code Section 187 punishes the “unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.

Oklahoma Prosecution and Conviction of a Woman for Experiencing a Miscarriage is Shameful and Dangerous

On Tuesday, October 5, Brittney Poolaw, a 20-year-old Oklahoma woman, was convicted of manslaughter in the first degree for experiencing a miscarriage at 17 weeks and sentenced to 4 years in state prison.

Last year, Ms. Poolaw experienced a miscarriage and went to Comanche County Hospital for medical help.

Arrests and Prosecutions of Pregnant Women, 1973-2020

In 2013, the Journal of Public Health Law and Policy published National Advocates for Pregnant Women (“NAPW”) peer-reviewed study documenting arrests, detentions, and equivalent deprivations of physical liberty of women between 1973 and 2005 in which being pregnant was a necessary element of the crime or a “but for” reason for the coercive or punitive action taken.

Chelsea Becker Is Released On Her Own Recognizance, But Not Yet Free

On March 9, 2021, Kings County Superior Court Judge Robert Shane Burns granted Chelsea Becker’s request to be released on her own recognizance so that she can enter a residential treatment facility, but her legal fight continues.

In 2019, Ms. Becker experienced a stillbirth, which Kings County District Attorney Keith L. Fagundes claims, without scientific basis, was caused by methamphetamine use.

NAPW Statement: The Fight to Free Chelsea Becker Continues: How the San Francisco Chronicle, Associated Press, New York Post, and Other Media Outlets Got It Wrong

On December 24, 2020, the San Francisco Chronicle published an article that included incorrect and dangerously misleading information about a recent California Supreme Court order in Chelsea Becker’s case. The article erroneously reported, “Court refuses to bar woman’s murder prosecution for death of fetus, a loss for Becerra.