On August 1, 2019, a prosecutor in Chattanooga, TN appeared in court and dropped all charges against Tiffany Roberts.
National Advocates for Pregnant Women and a coalition of Tennessee and national advocates and experts spoke out quickly and forcefully against the arrest and charges brought against Tiffany Roberts on July 23 in Chattanooga. Police arrested Ms. Roberts and charged her with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and neglect, and "viable fetus as a victim" based on her alleged actions during pregnancy, after she gave birth prematurely to twins at 23 weeks, who died shortly after the birth. She was jailed on a $1 million bond while she faced charges that were unconstitutional and not supported by Tennessee law or medical science.
National Advocates for Pregnant Women immediately reached out to offer legal assistance to Ms. Roberts and her attorney. NAPW also wrote an open letter to Hamilton County District Attorney Pinkston urging him to follow established Tennessee criminal and constitutional law and dismiss all charges. The letter emphasizes that there is no place for police or prosecutors when people seek reproductive health care. We worked quickly with Healthy and Free Tennessee, SisterReach, and other Tennessee allies to secure 168 local and national medical, public health, and legal experts, reproductive justice and health care organizations, and citizens of Tennessee as signatories on the letter, which we sent to the District Attorney.
The prosecutor did the right thing and dropped all charges, but the fact that this arrest happened at all is a chilling reminder that people with the capacity for pregnancy are not yet viewed as worthy of equality and human dignity in the U.S.