National Partnership for Women & Families

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January 29, 2013

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"Where Abortion Bans Lead," Juliet Lapidos, New York Times ' "Taking Note": After a "totally predictable outcry" over a New Mexico bill that "would make it a third-degree felony for women to terminate pregnancies resulting from rape by classifying such abortions as 'tampering with evidence,'" state Rep. Cathrynn Brown (R) revised the bill to exempt victims from prosecution, Lapidos writes. However, Scott Forrester -- executive director of the New Mexico Democratic Party -- noted that the bill still classifies a fetus as "evidence" and makes it a crime to "facilitate" an abortion, which could mean personnel at abortion clinics could be prosecuted. Lapidos writes, "If [Roe v. Wade] were overturned, and states banned abortion in some or all circumstances, state legislatures would inevitably pass bills similar to Ms. Brown's." She concludes, "Legions of otherwise law-abiding women, doctors and nurses would enter the maw of the criminal justice system" (Lapidos, "Taking Note," New York Times, 1/28).

What others are saying about attacks on abortion rights in New Mexico:

~ "New Mexico Wants To Ban Abortion After Rape, Calling It 'Tampering With Evidence,'" Jessica Pieklo, Care 2.

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"The Alabama Supreme Court Decision: Will it Make Delivering Appropriate Health Care to Pregnant Women More Difficult?" Sarah Roberts, ANSIRH Blog: The Alabama Supreme Court's decision that pregnant women can be prosecuted under a state law intended to protect children from chemical endangerment should concern anyone "interested in improving outcomes for children born to women who use drugs during pregnancy," Roberts writes. She notes that "prenatal care-based interventions -- such as screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment for drug use (also known collectively as SBIRT) -- may help women have healthier babies." However, these strategies can only be successful if pregnant women "go to prenatal care" and "trust their prenatal care providers." If prosecutions and convictions increase, "it seems fair to anticipate that women's fears of being prosecuted will increase and that fewer pregnant women who use drugs will attend prenatal care," Roberts argues, adding that it is also "reasonable to assume that trust [in providers] will be eroded" if women fear repercussions for disclosing their drug use histories (Roberts, ANSIRH Blog, 1/25).

What others are saying about the criminalization of pregnant women:

~ "Personhood USA's Unhinged Response to National Advocates for Pregnant Women Study," Imani Gandy, RH Reality Check.

~ "Murder Charges May Be Dropped Against Bei Bei Shuai," Robin Marty, RH Reality Check.