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 Support of Challenge to Arizona’s “Personhood Provision”

December, 2021

In April 2021, Arizona enacted Senate Bill 1457, which broadens the entire Arizona criminal and civil code such that every mention of “person” or “child” includes “an unborn child at every stage of development.” This so-called “Personhood Provision” provides the grounds for state actors in Arizona including prosecutors and child welfare authorities to treat the fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses inside of pregnant women as whole persons with independent rights.

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.

National Advocates for Pregnant Women Files Brief with U.S. Supreme Court Focusing on the Impact of Mississippi’s Abortion Ban on All Pregnant People, Not Only Those Seeking to End a Pregnancy

On September 20, 2021, National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW), with co-counsel David Goldberg, partner at Donahue, Goldberg, and Littleton, filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in support of Respondents’ challenge to Mississippi’s law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

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.

CASE UPDATE: NAPW Files Renewed Motion to Dismiss in Lauderdale County, AL Based on Unprecedented and Unconstitutional Theory Regarding Pregnancy, Chronic Pain, and Prescription Drug Use

NAPW has filed a renewed Motion to Dismiss (MTD) on behalf of our client Kim Blalock, an Alabama mother who was charged with prescription fraud for taking medication prescribed by her physician to manage chronic back pain while pregnant. We recently won a motion seeking more information from the prosecutor, requiring them to detail Ms. Blalock’s alleged wrongdoing.