National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

Video Looks Back at 'Crack Baby' Myth, Celebs Push for 'Bill of Reproductive Rights'

Video Looks Back at 'Crack Baby' Myth, Celebs Push for 'Bill of Reproductive Rights'

May 31, 2013 — Our video roundup includes a unique assortment of Web videos hand-picked by our editors. In this edition, we feature a look back at the now-debunked "crack baby" claims from the 1980s, as well as a video from celebrities who are urging President Obama to protect reproductive rights.


The New York Times' "Retro Report" looks back at media reports from the 1980s warning of a generation of "crack babies" born to women who used the drug during pregnancy, supposedly putting their infants at risk of brain damage, birth defects, cerebral palsy and other problems. Fueled by a single study involving about two dozen cases, experts and politicians at the time warned of children who would grow up dependent on social programs, struggle in school and be plagued by health problems. Although other research showed the symptoms supposedly found in crack babies were consistent with those in other premature infants, by the late 1980s women who used drugs during pregnancy were being prosecuted as child abusers and murderers. "Retro Report" speaks with researchers involved in the original studies and checks in with adults who were allegedly exposed to crack in utero ("Retro Report," New York Times, 5/20).


The latest video from the Center for Reproductive Rights' Draw the Line campaign features actor Stanley Tucci, comedian Whitney Cummings and other celebrities who urge advocates to sign a Bill of Reproductive Rights to protect reproductive freedom and ensure affordable access to a full range of women's health services. The new video -- which specifically calls on President Obama to stand up against attacks on reproductive rights and women's health care -- follows similar campaigns last year involving Meryl Streep, Amy Poehler and others (Center for Reproductive Rights, 5/22).