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Are you aware of how personhood laws affect you?

Posted by on Jul. 6, 2013 at 6:12 AM
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1 mom liked this

A New Study Details How Roe v Wade and Proposed Personhood Laws Affect Every Woman

Jeanne Faulkner
January 18, 2013

Next week marks the 40th anniversary of Roe versus Wade, the US Supreme Court’s landmark decision that legalized abortion in the United States.  Whether your views are pro-life or pro-choice, Roe v Wade protects all pregnant women – those who want abortions and those who want to continue their pregnancies.  In fact, it affects all women, period. And a new study tells why.

This week, National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) released an unprecedented study that looks at how measures passed since Roe v Wade have confused the law and landed too many pregnant women in jail and stripped of their own rights as women.  The study is titled Arrests of and forced interventions on pregnant women in the United States (1973-2005): The implications for women's legal status and public health. Authored by Lynn M. Paltrow, Founder and Executive Director of NAPW and Jeanne Flavin, Professor of Sociology at Fordham University it was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law.

This study identifies hundreds of criminal and civil cases involving the arrests, detentions and deprivations of pregnant women’s physical liberty that occurred between 1973 and 2005,after Roe v. Wade became law.  In each of the 413 cases included in this study, pregnancy was central to the case and the consequences included:  arrests; incarceration; increases in prison or jail sentences; detentions in hospitals, mental institutions and drug treatment programs; and forced medical interventions, including surgery. The authors have also already identified more than 250 additional cases since 2005.  If this type of treatment of women is occurring even with Roe’s protection, imagine what could occur without it. 

Recently, lawmakers have discussed legislation that would give full legal rights to fetuses from the moment of conception.  Paltrow says, “But if fetuses have separate legal rights from their mothers that means women lose their status as full constitutional persons when they get pregnant. If personhood measures pass, all pregnant women risk losing their personhood." 

Six million women become pregnant in the US annually and all benefit from Roe v. Wade. That ruling not only protects a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy, but as Paltrow explains, “later Supreme Court cases have been sensibly relied upon to counter attempts to interfere with a woman's decision to become pregnant or carry her pregnancy to term.”  The study, nevertheless found that laws passed since Roe v. Wade that are purported to just limit, restrict or stop abortions are instead being used to hurt all pregnant women, including those who have no intention of ending a pregnancy.

The new NAPW study reveals a disturbing range of punitive state actions directed at pregnant women including:

-  Arrests and incarcerations of:

  • Women because they ended a pregnancy or expressed an intention to end a pregnancy
  • Women who carried their pregnancies to term and gave birth to healthy babies      

-  Arrests and detentions of:

  • Women who suffered unintentional pregnancy losses, both early and late in their pregnancies
  • Women who couldn’t guarantee a healthy birth outcome

-  Forced medical interventions including blood transfusions, vaginal exams, and cesarean section on pregnant women

According to NAPW’s study, though most of the cases documented aren’t actually authorized by any law (they’re actually prohibited by the principles underlying Roe) prosecutors and judges are using feticide and anti-abortion laws that include declarations that eggs, embryos, and fetuses are separate legal persons as justification for denying pregnant women their reproductive rights and their status as full constitutional persons. Paltrow provided these examples:

  • Angela Carder critically ill and 25 weeks pregnant was denied her right to life. A judge decided -- in the course of an afternoon -- that she could be forced to undergo cesarean surgery, understanding that the forced surgery could cause her death. Both she and the baby died.
  • A doctor in Wisconsin had concerns about a woman’s plans to have a midwife-attended birth. A civil court order of protective custody for the woman’s fetus was obtained, authorizing the sheriff to take the woman into custody and subject her to involuntary testing and medical treatment in the hospital.
  • Veronica Ayala was seven-months pregnant when she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. When she didn’t follow instructions for obtaining additional testing authorities obtained an order to involuntarily commit her for psychiatric evaluation. She was deemed sane, but was civilly committed and kept prisoner in the hospital where, they never carried out the test they claimed was so vital.
  • Laura Pemberton was in active labor in her home in Florida. Her doctors believed she was putting her unborn child in danger by attempting to have a vaginal birth after cesarean so they obtained a court order to force her to have a C-section. The sheriff went to her home, took her into custody, strapped her legs together and forced her to go to the hospital where an emergency hearing determined the state’s interest in protecting her unborn baby.  Laura and her husband were not allowed legal counsel.  Ultimately, she was forced to have the surgery she’d refused and felt was unnecessary.  When she later sued for violation of civil rights, the court ruled that the state’s interest outweighed Laura’s First, Fourth and Fourteenth amendment rights.  Laura subsequently gave birth vaginally to three other healthy children, calling into question the medical predictions of harm from VBAC. 
  • Michelle Greenup in Louisiana went to the hospital with vaginal bleeding. Hospital staff suspected she’d recently given birth. She was interrogated by the police and charged with murder. She spent approximately a year in jail before her counsel was able to show that what was deemed murder was actually an early miscarriage that resulted from medication (Depo-Provera – a contraceptive) given to her by a healthcare provider. Neither knew she was pregnant at the time.

As Paltrow says, “If every mother really counts – we must oppose measures leading to their arrest, detentions and more. 60-70% of women who have abortions are already mothers. 84% of women in America get pregnant and give birth. This is about all of us.”

http://everymothercounts.org/blog/201301/new-study-details-how-roe-v-wade-and-proposed-personhood-laws-affect-every-woman

Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.

by on Jul. 6, 2013 at 6:12 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Meadowchik
by Silver Member on Jul. 6, 2013 at 6:32 AM

 "If this type of treatment of women is occurring even with Roe’s protection, imagine what could occur without it. "

Sounds like wild spin to me.  In my opinion, in cases such as these, the bigger influence is the over-medicalisation of the birth process.

Aestas
by Gold Member on Jul. 6, 2013 at 6:39 AM

I absolutely agree that the over-medicalization of birth is a huge problem, and judges and lawmakers (as well as far too many medical professionals) are clearly not on our side when it comes to this issue. Do you want them in charge of your pregnancy?

Quoting Meadowchik:

 "If this type of treatment of women is occurring even with Roe’s protection, imagine what could occur without it. "

Sounds like wild spin to me.  In my opinion, in cases such as these, the bigger influence is the over-medicalisation of the birth process.


Meadowchik
by Silver Member on Jul. 6, 2013 at 6:58 AM

Good question. As the article itself says, those cases of interventions themselves were not legal. 

Quoting Aestas:

I absolutely agree that the over-medicalization of birth is a huge problem, and judges and lawmakers (as well as far too many medical professionals) are clearly not on our side when it comes to this issue. Do you want them in charge of your pregnancy?

Quoting Meadowchik:

 "If this type of treatment of women is occurring even with Roe’s protection, imagine what could occur without it. "

Sounds like wild spin to me.  In my opinion, in cases such as these, the bigger influence is the over-medicalisation of the birth process.

 

 

Aestas
by Gold Member on Jul. 6, 2013 at 7:03 AM
1 mom liked this

They shouldn't have been legal due to Roe v. Wade, but it's pretty hard to appeal your case when you are institutionalized, jailed, knocked out for forced surgery, or being dragged from your home in the middle of labor. By the time your case is appealed and settled by a court with the authority to do so, it's too late. And in this case, "too late" may mean that you, your baby, or both are dead.

If Roe v. Wade were overturned, by the way, such interventions would not necessarily be illegal. Scary, no?

Quoting Meadowchik:

Good question. As the article itself says, those cases of interventions themselves were not legal. 

Quoting Aestas:

I absolutely agree that the over-medicalization of birth is a huge problem, and judges and lawmakers (as well as far too many medical professionals) are clearly not on our side when it comes to this issue. Do you want them in charge of your pregnancy?

Quoting Meadowchik:

 "If this type of treatment of women is occurring even with Roe’s protection, imagine what could occur without it. "

Sounds like wild spin to me.  In my opinion, in cases such as these, the bigger influence is the over-medicalisation of the birth process.


 


Meadowchik
by Silver Member on Jul. 6, 2013 at 7:12 AM

 That's a big IF.  How about a better focus on good law based on contemporary understanding from the whole picture? Illegalised abortion is not mutually exclusive with autonomy of good practices in live births. 

Thanks for the input, in this and the other thread.  I will respond when I have time to not only read your links but do more research on my own. (Which is not gonna be today!  ;) )  

Quoting Aestas:

They shouldn't have been legal due to Roe v. Wade, but it's pretty hard to appeal your case when you are institutionalized, jailed, knocked out for forced surgery, or being dragged from your home in the middle of labor. By the time your case is appealed and settled by a court with the authority to do so, it's too late. And in this case, "too late" may mean that you, your baby, or both are dead.

If Roe v. Wade were overturned, by the way, such interventions would not necessarily be illegal. Scary, no?

Quoting Meadowchik:

Good question. As the article itself says, those cases of interventions themselves were not legal. 

Quoting Aestas:

I absolutely agree that the over-medicalization of birth is a huge problem, and judges and lawmakers (as well as far too many medical professionals) are clearly not on our side when it comes to this issue. Do you want them in charge of your pregnancy?

Quoting Meadowchik:

 "If this type of treatment of women is occurring even with Roe’s protection, imagine what could occur without it. "

Sounds like wild spin to me.  In my opinion, in cases such as these, the bigger influence is the over-medicalisation of the birth process.

 

 

 

 

coolmommy2x
by Gold Member on Jul. 6, 2013 at 8:24 AM
Never thought of it but I would think this will have huge impact on midwife-assisted and home births. I didn't opt for either but it would be terrible for those wanted them but couldn't because practitioners stopped due to fear of breaking laws if something goes wrong.

Here in PA medical malpractice insurance is crazy...lots of doctors have left the state over the years and some OBs just do gyn work now so I can image these laws' impact.
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Aestas
by Gold Member on Jul. 6, 2013 at 8:27 AM
1 mom liked this

Illegalized abortion is anathema to women's human rights, including our rights during pregnancy and birth; the OP does a pretty good job of explaining some of the reasons why.

I appreciate your input as well, and the accompanying civil exchange. It's obvious that we both feel very strongly about this issue, so it's nice that we can talk about it in a reasonable way. Take your time on getting back to me, and enjoy your day. :)

Quoting Meadowchik:

 That's a big IF.  How about a better focus on good law based on contemporary understanding from the whole picture? Illegalised abortion is not mutually exclusive with autonomy of good practices in live births. 

Thanks for the input, in this and the other thread.  I will respond when I have time to not only read your links but do more research on my own. (Which is not gonna be today!  ;) )  

Quoting Aestas:

They shouldn't have been legal due to Roe v. Wade, but it's pretty hard to appeal your case when you are institutionalized, jailed, knocked out for forced surgery, or being dragged from your home in the middle of labor. By the time your case is appealed and settled by a court with the authority to do so, it's too late. And in this case, "too late" may mean that you, your baby, or both are dead.

If Roe v. Wade were overturned, by the way, such interventions would not necessarily be illegal. Scary, no?

Aestas
by Gold Member on Jul. 6, 2013 at 8:31 AM

I am currently pregnant and will have a midwife-assisted out-of-hospital birth (barring an unforseen medically necessary reason to transfer to hospital care), and I find these stories terrifying. My first child was born in a hospital, and due to that experience and the great deal of research I've done since then, I don't want to give birth in a hospital again if I can help it.

Quoting coolmommy2x:

Never thought of it but I would think this will have huge impact on midwife-assisted and home births. I didn't opt for either but it would be terrible for those wanted them but couldn't because practitioners stopped due to fear of breaking laws if something goes wrong.

Here in PA medical malpractice insurance is crazy...lots of doctors have left the state over the years and some OBs just do gyn work now so I can image these laws' impact.


coolmommy2x
by Gold Member on Jul. 6, 2013 at 8:50 AM
I'm finished having kids but I fear for my DD's future. It seems as if taking away women's right is a major goal for some.

Quoting Aestas:

I am currently pregnant and will have a midwife-assisted out-of-hospital birth (barring an unforseen medically necessary reason to transfer to hospital care), and I find these stories terrifying. My first child was born in a hospital, and due to that experience and the great deal of research I've done since then, I don't want to give birth in a hospital again if I can help it.

Quoting coolmommy2x:

Never thought of it but I would think this will have huge impact on midwife-assisted and home births. I didn't opt for either but it would be terrible for those wanted them but couldn't because practitioners stopped due to fear of breaking laws if something goes wrong.



Here in PA medical malpractice insurance is crazy...lots of doctors have left the state over the years and some OBs just do gyn work now so I can image these laws' impact.


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StarburstKisses
by Bronze Member on Jul. 6, 2013 at 9:04 AM

How accurate is this? SMFH I'd also like to ask how old those cases are that they posted at the bottom. No I don't think a doctor can dictate how you go about your pregnancy, delievery, etc. I don't think someone should charge you for murder for a MC - those are natural. When you force a MC, anyway you shave it THAT's abortion. I can see now why women are so scared of getting thrown in jail or prosecuted if they have a MC or something happenes to the pregnancy early on. I didn't know any of this was going on, or even happened. I'm still for abortions being outlawed, however, I'm completely against what I just read. And for once kinda shook my standing on being pro-life....I honest to god thought all those fears of, "they'll come after us if we have a MC and throw us in jail" was nutty talk to be honest....I don't know how, seiously, that I hadn't heard or knew about this. How sad. :S

Arrests and incarcerations of:

- basically someone wanting an abortion or hinting interest in it (okay)

-for having a healthy pregnancy and then delivering a healthy baby (HOW IS THAT WRONG?!

And THIS right here is why they will never out law abortion because they have flipping idiots who think like this: 

 Arrests and detentions of:

  • Women who suffered unintentional pregnancy losses, both early and late in their pregnancies
  • Women who couldn’t guarantee a healthy birth outcome
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