Lynn M. Paltrow, J.D., is the founder and executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW). Ms. Paltrow is a graduate of Cornell University and New York University School of Law. She has worked on numerous cases challenging restrictions on the right to choose abortion as well cases opposing the prosecution and punishment of pregnant women seeking to continue their pregnancies to term. Ms. Paltrow has served as a senior staff attorney at the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, as Director of Special Litigation at the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, and as Vice President for Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of New York City. Ms. Paltrow conceived of and filed the first affirmative federal civil rights challenge to a hospital policy of searching pregnant women for evidence of drug use and turning that information over to the police. In the case of Ferguson et. al., v. City of Charleston et. al., the United States Supreme Court agreed that such a policy violates the 4th amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Through her work as a national litigator and strategist in cases involving the intersection of the war on reproductive freedom and the war on drugs, Ms. Paltrow recognized the need for a shift in the reproductive rights paradigm – away from divisive (and inaccurate) “pro-choice” and “anti-choice” categorizations and toward a set of inclusive, positive reproductive and family justice values around which a broad base of allies can mobilize. As Executive Director of NAPW, Ms. Paltrow combines legal advocacy with grassroots and national organizing and policy work to bring about this shift. She is a frequent guest lecturer and writer for popular press, law reviews and medical journals and is the recipient of the Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Fellowship, the Georgetown Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship, the Justice Gerald Le Dain Award for Achievement in the Field of Law, and was selected in 2005 as one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century by Women’s Enews.
Understanding how the case of one Indiana woman—Idette Herron—helped another, Purvi Patel, win her freedom is essential if we are to fight back effectively against the assault on women’s reproductive health and rights.
The attack on Michelle Wilkins was an unfathomable act of cruelty. However, Colorado legislators must not use it as grounds for passing new feticide laws that will actually make pregnant women vulnerable to arrest and punishment.
The recent Marlise Munoz case should be a call to action for anyone who believes that pregnant women and their families deserve respect. More than 30 states have laws that require a pregnant woman to be kept on mechanical support no matter what her living will says, and it is time for that to change.
While Hobby Lobby opposes offering contraceptive coverage, it does sell three types of knitting needles, just the kind that in the not-so-distant past, women who became pregnant and didn’t have access to legal abortion used to try and end their pregnancies themselves.
It is hard to imagine a more absolute denial of a woman’s personhood than depriving her of the right to decide her own future, and then literally using her body without permission as an object for a fetus to grow in. Yet this is exactly what the pregnancy exclusions envision in the 31 states that have passed them.
With 20-week abortion bans, far more than abortion is at stake. These measures establish legal principles that will be—and, indeed, already have been—used to justify arrests of and forced medical interventions on pregnant women.
Our new study makes clear that post-Roe anti-abortion and “pro-life” measures are being used to do far more than limit access to abortion; they are providing the basis for arresting women, locking them up, and forcing them to submit to medical interventions, including surgery.
The real question that needs to be addressed is not whether rape can cause pregnancy. The question is: will measures that ban women who have been impregnated by rape from having abortions be enacted, enabling rapists, with state support, even greater power to deprive women of their dignity and personhood?
Citizens in Mississippi, once, and Colorado, twice, have resoundingly rejected so called "personhood" measures that would have established the "pre-born" as separate legal persons under the law. There is increasing evidence that when people understand the broad reach of such measures, they vote them down. But what happens when prosecutors and judges misuse their power and "pass" such measures in disguise?
Lawmakers in Alabama and Indiana are moving to arrest and incarcerate pregnant women with mental illness and drug addiction, and charge them with harming their fetus. National Advocates for Pregnant Women is working to defend the basic rights of pregnant women suffering from mental illness, severe depression, or any other health problem to be treated like other human beings experiencing the same problems.
Amendment 62 in Colorado is sponsored by a Fetal Separatist movement that seeks to legally separate pregnant women and the fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses inside them, depriving women of their right to life and liberty.
Organizations from the March of Dimes to the American Medical Association oppose the arrests and prosecutions, based on "child abuse," of pregnant women who use drugs, but South Carolina continues to jail pregnant women and mothers otherwise denied treatment.
Comforted by the fact that the Utah legislature "revised" the bill on miscarriages? Don't be. Its main purpose is not to advance a "culture of life," but to advance laws that permit imprisonment of pregnant women.
The American Life League has attacked us for suggesting that Personhood
Measures are a threat to all pregnant women and that opposing them
should be common ground. Yet the pro-life women who have been victims
of these measures agree with us.
time for all those who care about pregnant women and mothers --
whatever their views on abortion -- to write, call, and, demonstrate
against individuals, organizations, and institutions that use hateful
Is anti-abortion rhetoric "hate speech" or an "incitement to terrorism? Whatever your answer, this speech reveals anger, disrespect for and hostility toward both providers and to those who have abortions -- pregnant women.
While people opposed to abortion believe separate rights for the “unborn” will have a limited impact only on the right to abortion, there are many cases in which "personhood" arguments
have been used to punish women going to term.
Why are the legislators -- who profess to care so much about pregnant women -- only willing to "protect" women who plan to end their pregnancies from coercion, and not those those who intend to go to term?
Cases from across the country prove that if the unborn are recognized as legal persons with separate human rights, the government will have the power to deprive pregnant women of their rights to informed consent, due process, liberty, and even life.
Many people in the U.S. work to protect the rights of pregnant women and to ensure that they are treated with dignity and respect. But as a result of the divisive abortion debate, many of those advocates typically do not work together—or even speak to one another.
The anti-abortion movement has successfully used the abortion issue to divide the electorate, and a key part of their strategy has been creating the illusion that there are two kinds of women: those who have abortions and those who have babies. The truth is that 61 percent of women who have abortions are already mothers, and another 24 percent will go on to become mothers. Over the course of their lives, 85 percent of all women bring life into this world and provide the vast majority of care for the lives of those around them—without compensation.
All the latest news, analysis and commentary delivered to you.