Brittney Poolaw, a 20-year-old Oklahoma woman, was convicted of manslaughter in the first degree for experiencing a miscarriage at 17 weeks. She was sentenced to 4 years in state prison. Contrary to all medical science, the prosecutor blamed the miscarriage on Brittney’s alleged use of controlled substances. Not even the medical examiner’s report identifies use of controlled substances as the cause of the miscarriage. Moreover, no law in Oklahoma authorizes prosecution for experiencing a miscarriage. The DA nevertheless moved forward with the prosecution.
NAPW is now supporting Brittney as she explores her legal options, and we are working to ensure that this injustice does not happen again.
This heartbreaking case is just one example of the troubling trend we are documenting in Oklahoma that replaces compassion and support for people who experience pregnancy losses - with criminal prosecutions. In fact, we know of at least 9 other open cases in Oklahoma of women being criminalized in relation to their pregnancies or pregnancy outcomes.
Here are 4 ways you can support Brittney:
1. Write a letter of support and solidarity to be shared with her in prison.
2. Contribute to our fund for her financial needs. She is receiving free legal support from NAPW and local counsel, so this money will be given to Brittney directly for any other needs she may have.
3. Sign up for our updates for the latest on this case and our other work.
4. Consider becoming a donor to NAPW to support our legal advocacy for Brittney and others in similar situations.