Dear Friends and Allies,
As many of you know, on June 26, a grand jury in Alabama indicted Marshae Jones for the crime of manslaughter because she experienced a pregnancy loss that she allegedly caused by being unable to protect herself from being shot in the stomach while 5 months pregnant. Pregnancy Justice's long-term work in Alabama and throughout the country fighting the prosecution of pregnant women enabled us to play an important role in Ms. Jones's case. We supported state-based allies including the Yellowhammer Fund and the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund who made sure Ms. Jones was released from jail within 24 hours of her arrest. Our comments to the media and our statement on the case directed national outrage to District Attorney Lynneice Washington who announced on July 3 that she had decided to drop the manslaughter charge and not to file any other charges.
We need your support to continue our work to make sure that pregnancy-related criminal charges are dropped against hundreds of other women in Alabama and that claims of fetal personhood are not used to justify forced medical interventions on pregnant patients.
Below, please find updates about Pregnancy Justice's work and the influence we have had as a leading voice in the media.
Lynn M. Paltrow
Founder and Executive Director
Pregnancy Justice's Expertise on the Marshae Jones Case
Pregnancy Justice's Founder and Executive Director Lynn M. Paltrow discussed the prosecution of Marshae Jones with Amy Goodman live on Democracy Now! In the interview, Lynn emphasized that violations of pregnant women's rights and personhood happen across the country, not just in Alabama, and not only through arrests and prosecutions.
Pregnancy Justice experts reinforced this messaging in numerous national and international media outlets. Highlights include:
-- "Alabama woman charged in fetal death, her shooter goes free"(AP.org)
-- Case against Marshae Jones brings 'personhood' back to spotlight" (AL.com)
-- "Marshae Jones Is Proof Pro-Lifers Don't Care About Life" (The Nation)
-- "The Alabama Woman Charged With Her Fetus' Death Is Part of A Long History of Blaming Black Women -- For Harm To Their Unborn" (Pacific Standard)
-- "No prosecution for Alabama woman who was shot, lost fetus" (AP.org)
Thousands Seek End to Forced Cesareans in New York and Justice for Rinat Dray
On July 11, thousands of New Yorkers and others in the U.S. and from around the world demanded that Northwell Health eliminate policies and practices that authorize forced or coerced medical interventions on pregnant patients in their facilities. Through a petition organized by Pregnancy Justice and delivered to Northwell's CEO and Board of Trustees, more than 3,500 people called on Northwell to ensure that no pregnant patient is again denied their constitutional and statutory rights to medical decision-making and bodily integrity as Rinat Dray was at Northwell's Staten Island University Hospital (SIUH).
Eight years after being forced to have cesarean surgery, Ms. Dray has not received justice. The hospital and personnel who carried out the damaging surgery continue to defend their actions on the same grounds asserted in the prosecution of Marshae Jones in Alabama - that a pregnant woman has no right to put an "unborn" child in a dangerous situation. In the prosecution of Ms. Jones, the dangerous situation was being pregnant and the victim of a shooting; in the Dray case, it was being pregnant and continuing labor rather than consenting to cesarean surgery.
If you have not yet signed the Pregnancy Justice petition to Northwell Health, please click here to sign! If you have already signed our petition, please view and share it on social media. Please remember to include @NorthwellHealth and #JusticeForDray in your message!
Here are some sample tweets:
Have you signed/shared the @Pregnancy Justice petition bit.ly/Pregnancy JusticeDray calling on @NorthwellHealth to recognize people at all stages of pregnancy have civil and human rights to consent, privacy, and confidentiality? #JusticeForDray #endbirthmistreatment #respectfulbirth
NY's biggest health system @NorthwellHealth should lead the way on #respectfulbirth. 1 in 6 women experience mistreatment by health care providers during birth; more for women of color. #JusticeForDray #endbirthmistreatment Sign/share the @Pregnancy Justice petition bit.ly/Pregnancy JusticeDray
Join thousands of New Yorkers to demand that @NorthwellHealth eliminate forced/coerced medical treatment on pregnant patients. #JusticeForDray #endbirthmistreatment #respectfulbirth Sign/share the @Pregnancy Justice petition bit.ly/Pregnancy JusticeDray
Want to take the next step? Call the office of Northwell Health's President and CEO, Michael Dowling at (516) 321-6100 and demand that Northwell eliminate any and all policies and practices of forced or coerced medical interventions on pregnant patients, and that they take steps to ensure that all Northwell facilities and staff respect the civil and human rights of their pregnant patients.
Pregnancy Justice Senior Staff Attorney Amber Khan in Ms. Magazine
Pregnancy Justice Senior Staff Attorney Amber Khan authored "The Crime Was Pregnancy," published in the Summer 2019 issue of Ms. Magazine. This important piece provides an update to Janet Gallagher's Ms. Magazine article "The Fetus and the Law -- Whose Life Is It Anyway," published over 35 years ago. Ms. Gallagher's article raised concerns about the "fetal rights" movement and asked the question: "What lies in store for pregnant women in the future?"
Through documentation of Pregnancy Justice cases, our advocacy and research, Ms. Khan explains how hundreds of arrests and prosecutions of pregnant women have taught us that granting separate rights to fetuses means stripping civil rights from pregnant women.
Read an excerpt of the article here
Pregnancy Justice and If/When/How Oppose FDA Restrictions on Abortion Medication
Pregnancy Justice and If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice wrote and organized a letter sent to the FDA, signed by organizations and experts in reproductive health and rights, public health, harm reduction, and HIV/AIDS. The letter opposes the FDA's recent warning letters targeting mifepristone and misoprostol as dangerous, and urges the FDA to remove the burdensome Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for mifepristone. Pregnancy Justice and all of the signatories urge the FDA to revoke the warning letters issued to websites allegedly distributing these medications to consumers in light of the worsening landscape for access to safe abortion in the U.S., and remove the unnecessary and onerous REMS that prevent people from accessing safe and effective medications.