National Advocates for Pregnant Women
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'sEnews.
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.
New Study Shows Anti-Choice Policies Leading to Widespread Arrests of and Forced 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?
Must “restoring the historic right to life accorded to unborn children” require that women, including new mothers who have given birth, go to prison?
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?
Why Are Science and Evidence Routinely Ignored When it Comes to the Rights and Health of Pregnant Women?
Why is it, we wonder, that when it comes to decisions regarding women and pregnancy, science is so often ignored?
A recent New York Times story relies on anecdote and innuendo to focus attention on pregnant drug users rather than actual facts or the real economic and ethical issues that need to be addressed.
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.
Ms. Palin, if you are among those who believe that political change can come about non-violently, without hate, violence, or the threat of violence, now would be an excellent time to say so.