Media Advisory: Video and Panel Explores the Drug War’s Impact on Pregnant Women and Families

For Immediate Release
November 13, 2013

Patrick Gallahue: 917-328-0709
Laura Huss: 212-255-9252

Video and Panel Explores the Drug War’s Impact on Pregnant Women and Families
Consequences Include Arrests, Forced Detentions, Child Welfare Interventions,
and Limited Drug Treatment Options

Open Society Foundations are proud to host Pregnancy Justice for a groundbreaking event on November 19th in New York City that will explore the drug war’s impact on pregnant women and families.

Drug war propaganda is increasingly being used to justify repressive policies toward pregnant women and new mothers, including non-consensual drug testing, child welfare interventions, arrests, and detentions of women who become pregnant and use any amount of a controlled substance. These policies act as barriers to appropriate and effective drug treatment for pregnant women and families who need it.

The extreme stigmatization of women who use drugs—as well as those who are in treatment or who have used drugs in the past—is reinforced by a private organization, known as Project Prevention, that pays current or former drug-using women $300 to get sterilized or to use long- acting birth control.
These policies, and programs have a number of dangerous consequences, including driving women away from health care services, redirecting funding that could be used for drug treatment or other services to fund punitive measures, and unnecessarily separating families (particularly low-income and families of color).

The event will begin with a screening of Pregnancy Justice’s short video, Project Prevention: Mothers and Children Speak Out, confronting the drug war’s influence on the civil child welfare system and how private initiatives like Project Prevention are undermining the health and well-being of pregnant women and families. The film will be followed by an expert panel discussing Project Prevention’s reach nationally and internationally and the implications of the war on drugs on pregnant women and families:

  • Parent Advocates Dinah Adames & Sabra Jackson
  • Lynn Paltrow, JD, Executive Director of Pregnancy Justice
  • Emma Ketteringham, JD, Managing Attorney, Family Defense Practice of The Bronx Defenders
  • Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch, MSW, Director, Global Drug Policy Program, Open Society Foundations
  • Carl Hart, PhD, Associate Professor, Columbia University
  • Robert Newman, MD, MPH, President Emeritus, Beth Israel Medical Center
  • Where: Open Society Foundations, 224 West 57th Street, 1st Fl., Room 1 ABC, New York, NY 10019
    When: Tuesday, November 19, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
    To RSVP: