This weekend, National Advocates for Pregnant Women's work and perspectives are featured in the New York Times Magazine. The story, The Criminalization of Bad Mothers, focuses on pregnant drug using women who are being prosecuted under Alabama's Chemical Endangerment Act - a law intended to punish adults who bring children to environments where illegal drugs are being made.
This break-through story makes clear that there is no middle ground between these sorts of prosecutions and establishing legal principles that would deprive every mother "good or bad" of her fundamental constitutional and human rights, including the right to choose abortion. In the story, Troy Newman, president of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue admits that prosecutions of pregnant women "could ultimately get the anti-abortion movement where it wants to go."
TIME Magazine reinforces these connections in their story, Drug Addiction, 'Personhood' and the War on Women.
NAPW has long recognized that bringing pro-choice, birthing rights, criminal justice, and drug policy reform movements together could get us where we want to go - guaranteeing that all women, regardless of their circumstances, are treated like human beings and guaranteed access to respectful reproductive health and maternity care. NAPW wants to ensure that pregnant women do not become new fodder for America's massive system of incarceration.
The NYTimes story also stands out for its reliance on real experts who challenge prevailing myths about addiction and the war on drugs. To simplify a complex medical and psychosocial issue into a criminal issue is really just like using a hammer to play the piano, says Dr. Deborah Frank, a pediatrician and director of Boston Medical Center's Grow Clinic for Children.
The story has already garnered more than 600 comments on-line. We know there are compassionate people throughout the country who understand that fundamental rights should not depend on whether someone labels you "good" or "bad." Please make a donation to support NAPW's courageous work defending women and families and please March with us this Saturday, April 28th.