Tag : pregnancy discrimination

The Lilith Blog

March 3, 2021 by

Lynn Paltrow on the Prosecution of Pregnancy

Over the past 40-plus years, state and federal lawmakers have doubled down on efforts to not only restrict abortion, but to scrutinize pregnancy — zeroing in on low-income women, women of color and drug-using women, allegedly to protect the “right to life of unborn babies.”

Already, 18 states have laws equating drug or alcohol use while pregnant with civil child abuse. Two states, Minnesota and South Dakota, allow civil commitment — mandatory institutionalization — when someone who is pregnant poses a danger to her embryo or fetus. At the initial hearing, the fetus is entitled to counsel but the pregnant woman is not.

National Advocates for Pregnant Women, which seeks to secure the civil and human rights of pregnant people and their families, argues that these efforts mistakenly treat both pregnancy and substance use as criminal — rather than as public health — matters. Worse, NAPW says that these tactics actually undermine rather than improve maternal and child health.


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