Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

January-16-13

New Study Finds Anti-Choice Legislation Used To Infringe on Pregnant Women's Liberties

In addition to restricting reproductive health care access, anti-choice legislation has been increasingly used to deny pregnant women of their rights including the right to physical liberty, according to a new study released in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law on Tuesday. The study "Arrests of and Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women in the United States, 1973-2005: Implications for Women's Legal Status and Public Health" also considers what implications so-called "personhood" legislation would have for pregnant women.

The study comprehensively looks at 413 cases of arrests, detentions and other challenges to the physical liberties of women from when Roe v Wade was decided in 1973 to 2005. The authors of the study, Lynn M Platrow and Jeanne Flavin, found that in most cases, anti-choice legislation was used to incarcerate pregnant women and forcibly prevent them from obtaining certain medical services or undergo involuntary medical care. Such cases included women who were refused certain gestational tests, had miscarried or had a stillbirth, and women who were in drug treatment programs during their pregnancy. The authors of the study have also identified over 250 similar incidents since they concluded their study in 2005.

Platrow and Flavin came to the conclusion that "if passed, so called 'personhood' measures would: 1) provide the basis for arresting pregnant women who have abortions; and 2) provide state actors with the authority to subject all pregnant women to surveillance, arrest, incarceration, and other deprivations of liberty whether women seek to end a pregnancy or not."

"Furthermore," they continue, "the study demonstrates that there is no way to add fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses to state constitutions or to the United States Constitution without removing all pregnant women from the community of constitutional persons. These measures create a 'Jane Crow' system of law, establishing a separate and unequal status for all pregnant women and disproportionately punishing African-American and low-income women."

Personhood legislation has been rejected nationwide by voters and courts alike. Despite repeated defeats, Congressman Paul Ryan recently co-sponsored the "Sanctity of Human Life Act" which would grant full personhood rights to any "one-celled human embryo."

Media Resources: "Arrests of and Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women in the United States, 1973-2005: Implications for Women's Legal Status and Public Health" 1/15/2013; RH Reality Check 1/14/2013; Feminist Newswire 5/7/2012, 11/9/2011


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

7/2/2015 President Obama Will Expand Overtime Pay to Millions of Americans - President Obama is proposing a plan this week to broaden overtime pay that is expected to affect millions of Americans in the working class, especially women. In an Op-Ed written for and published by the Huffington Post, President Obama summarized what he called a successful week for Americans. . . .
 
7/2/2015 National Portrait Gallery Honors Dolores Huerta - Feminist Majority Foundation board member and lifelong feminist activist Dolores Huerta was honored by the National Portrait Gallery last night as the first Latina person to have a featured exhibition at the museum. Huerta is an active defender of civil rights, farm workers' rights, women's rights, and immigrant rights, and has been for over five decades. . . .
 
7/1/2015 Women's Rights Activists are Suing the Kenyan Government for Reproductive Rights - A woman in Kenya is suing the Kenyan government for failure to provide safe and legal abortions, which caused her daughter - a 15-year-old rape victim - to suffer a kidney failure after undergoing the procedure illegally. Currently, there are four petitioners on the case: the mother of the survivor, the Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya, and two other women's rights advocates. . . .