After the 1973 Roe decision, anti-abortion groups responded with a strategic plan to reverse the decision and recriminalize abortion through laws that seek to codify the belief that life begins at conception. Some of these criminal statutes create a new crime for causing a pregnancy loss by injuring a pregnant person, and others expand the definitions of "person" or "another" to include zygotes, embryos, and fetuses under existing criminal codes for murder, manslaughter, or related charges.
When Fetuses Gain Personhood: Understanding the Impact on IVF, Contraception, Medical Treatment, Criminal Law, Child Support, and Beyond
After suffering setbacks, the fetal personhood movement has gained support. The theory of a fetus as a legal person has become the framework of anti-abortion states and was highlighted in Justice Alito's majority opinion in Dobbs, creating a path for a fetal right to life argument under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Medical Experts’ Amicus Brief in Support of Emily Akers, Arrested and Charged With Manslaughter for Pregnancy Loss in Oklahoma
Emily Akers of Oklahoma experienced a pregnancy loss at 20 weeks and was charged with manslaughter based on the theory that methamphetamine use caused the stillbirth. This brief, filed by attorney John Coyle on behalf of local and national medical experts, underscores that there is no evidence-based research to support the prosecution’s theory that methamphetamine causes stillbirths.
In April 2021, Arizona enacted Senate Bill 1457, which broadens the entire Arizona criminal and civil code such that every mention of “person” or “child” includes “an unborn child at every stage of development.” This so-called “Personhood Provision” provides the grounds for state actors in Arizona including prosecutors and child welfare authorities to treat the fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses inside of pregnant women as whole persons with independent rights.
Pregnancy Justice Files Amicus Brief in the Case of Adora Perez, a California Woman Serving an 11-Year Sentence for Manslaughter After Experiencing a Stillbirth
Adora Perez was charged with murder in 2018 after she delivered a stillborn baby at Adventist Hospital in Hanford, California. District Attorney Keith Fagundes claimed, without scientific basis, that the stillbirth was caused by methamphetamine use. Penal Code Section 187 punishes the “unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.
Dear Friends and Allies,
I am guessing that the disastrous developments happening in Texas and the Supreme Court have already caught your attention. But just in case: a few weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court did not stop a plainly unconstitutional six-week abortion ban, Texas’s SB8, from going into effect.
Pregnancy Justice Files Brief with U.S. Supreme Court Focusing on the Impact of Mississippi’s Abortion Ban on All Pregnant People, Not Only Those Seeking to End a Pregnancy
On September 20, 2021, Pregnancy Justice, with co-counsel David Goldberg, partner at Donahue, Goldberg, and Littleton, filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in support of Respondents’ challenge to Mississippi’s law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
CASE UPDATE: Pregnancy Justice Files Renewed Motion to Dismiss in Lauderdale County, AL Based on Unprecedented and Unconstitutional Theory Regarding Pregnancy, Chronic Pain, and Prescription Drug Use
Pregnancy Justice has filed a renewed Motion to Dismiss (MTD) on behalf of our client Kim Blalock, an Alabama mother who was charged with prescription fraud for taking medication prescribed by her physician to manage chronic back pain while pregnant. We recently won a motion seeking more information from the prosecutor, requiring them to detail Ms. Blalock’s alleged wrongdoing.
Pregnancy Justice Moves to Dismiss Indictment in Lauderdale County, AL Based on Unprecedented and Unconstitutional Theory Regarding Pregnancy, Chronic Pain, and Prescription Drug Use
Today, Pregnancy Justice, with local counsel Brian White, filed a motion to dismiss an indictment against Kimberly Blalock, a mother in Lauderdale County, Alabama.
Ms. Blalock gave birth to a healthy baby on September 29, 2020. She has taken hydrocodone for approximately four years to manage chronic back pain due to the degeneration of discs in her back.
On March 10 and 11, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights heard oral arguments in the case of Manuela et al. v. El Salvador. El Salvador has an absolute abortion ban. Under that law, women who have abortions go to jail along with women like Manuela who, in 2008, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after suffering a miscarriage.