Fact Sheets

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.

Pregnancy and Drug Use

Carefully constructed, unbiased scientific research has not found that prenatal exposure to any criminalized drugs cause specific or unique harms. While there are numerous studies reporting findings that certain substances may increase a particular risk of harm, such as [lower birth weight], research has not found that any criminalized substances are abortifacients, cause miscarriages or stillbirths, or cause specific harms or impairments to the children prenatally exposed.