About Us

Our Mission

We work to ensure that no one loses their rights because of pregnancy or because of their capacity for pregnancy, focusing on pregnant people who are most at risk of state control and criminalization: those who are low-income, of color, and drug-using.

We've maintained this mission since we were first established in 2001 as National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

Criminal Defense of Pregnant People

We defend people who are charged with crimes because of pregnancy or any pregnancy outcome — including birth, miscarriage, stillbirth, and abortion — through direct representation and strategic legal advocacy.

We seek to minimize the harm of the criminal legal system and family policing system, keep families together, and protect against other forms of state control and violence.

Protecting Pregnant People's Constitutional and Civil Rights

We defend constitutional and civil rights by challenging laws and actions that violate pregnant people's rights and diminish their full personhood.

Legal Advocacy, Coalition Building, and Public Education

Every case we litigate is an opportunity to mobilize local public health, medical, and social justice experts and advocates. We also center the experiences of criminalized people and engage in responsible narrative shifting to educate policymakers, practitioners, and the public.

Research and Documentation

We document and analyze every case of pregnancy-related criminalization in the country and use our findings to inform legal strategy, academic research, and policy.

Our Core Beliefs

  • We are guided by the principles of reproductive justice, a human rights framework created and led by Black women. SisterSong defines reproductive justice as the human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities. Reproductive justice recognizes the interconnectedness of movements toward justice. Reproductive justice is environmental justice, immigrant justice, racial justice, economic justice, and trans justice.
  • The criminal legal system and family regulation system should never be involved in pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes.
  • All people are entitled to dignity, equality, and respect regardless of race, religion, national origin, immigration status, disability, gender, sexual orientation, capacity for pregnancy, or pregnancy.
  • The threat of pregnancy criminalization, like the criminal legal system itself, targets communities of color and is deeply rooted in racism. Even though our work requires that we engage with these systems, we must also commit to dismantling oppressive systems.