On January 22nd, the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, NAPW's Executive Director Lynn Paltrow was interviewed with ally Jessica Gonzales Rojas of the National Latina Institute on Reproductive Health by Bill Moyers for his show Moyers & Company. The interview will air this Sunday on PBS stations across the country. (Moyers & Company airs weekly on public television - Check your local listings) We hope that you will watch with us. For more on the anniversary of Roe, you can watch Lynn speaking at Center for American Progress in Washington, DC: Roe 2.0: Strategies for the Next Generation of Reproductive Rights Activism.
For more on NAPW's ground breaking study released last week, you can listen to the audio news conference with co-authors Lynn Paltrow and Jeanne Flavin, and editor Colleen Grogan here: First Ever Study of Post-Roe v. Wade Anti-Choice Measures Reveals Broad Consequences for Pregnant Women. We hope that in the months to come you will help us spread the word about this study that exposes how post-Roe anti-abortion and "pro-life" measures such as feticide laws are being used to create a punitive and dangerous system of separate and unequal law for women - one that undermines maternal, fetal, and child health. The Executive Summary is available here.
The study has already spurred Personhood USA to admit that its mission includes not only ending legal abortion, but also making state child abuse laws applicable to pregnant women in relationship to the embryos, eggs, and fetuses they carry, nurture, and sustain. In the past, supporters of "personhood" measures dismissed as "scare tactics" the argument that these measures would make all pregnant women subject to state surveillance, control, and punishment. In response to our study, Personhood USA has finally revealed the very real and scary truth that its efforts would hurt all pregnant women.
We are pleased by the media coverage the study has been getting. The study has become part of the overall story about the 40th Anniversary of Roe, for example see "Policing African-American Motherhood From Every Angle" by Alicia Walters, "The 'New Jane Crow' and American Women's Civil Rights" by Soraya Chemaly, and "Is miscarriage murder? States that put fetal rights ahead of a mother's say so" by Sadhbh Walshe. This commentary carries our important message that "the effort to undo Roe v Wade threatens not just reproductive rights but the very definition of personhood for American women."
Radio and TV are talking about our study from coast to coast, including Democracy Now's segment "Criminalizing Pregnancy: As Roe v. Wade Turns 40, Study Finds Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women," and NPR affiliate Southern California Public Radio segment "Study shows more than 400 women denied rights due to pregnancy." In addition, our commentary that was published by The Huffington Post and Truthout, Daily Kos, and Alternet. National and international newspapers and other media outlets are publishing thoughtful stories about our research. The Guardian's story about the study ran in numerous additional places with different headlines like this one: "Troubling number of women denied constitutional rights based on pregnancy." Some, like this one from Gather, included powerful new introductions:
This story should horrify, and outrage you. I read it early this morning, in my first pass for today's SR. It upset me so much that I had to just stop and sit, and meditate for some moments. And it worried me that I knew nothing about this. That's how deeply buried this part of the war on women has been.
Last Friday, this "war" intensified and some of the concerns raised in our study were borne out by a shocking decision by the Alabama Supreme Court. This decision held that the plain meaning of the word "child" in Alabama's chemical endangerment law includes fertilized eggs. What this means is that pregnant women in Alabama can go to jail for 10 years to life for using any amount of any controlled substance, even one prescribed to them by a physician. In Alabama, pregnant women who need methadone treatment, pain medication, or even substances commonly used in epidurals are now criminals. And, given the court's claim about the plain meaning of the word "child" - it would appear that every law in Alabama that uses this word now makes pregnant women subject to its reach - including child abuse and child murder laws.
We need your help to challenge this decision and to keep attention on our message: what is at stake on this 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade is not only the right to choose abortion or even reproductive rights, but nothing less than the personhood of pregnant women.