Fact Sheets

Fact Sheet: Wisconsin’s “Unborn Child Protection Act” (Act 292)

This fact sheet provides background information about Wisconsin’s Act 292, colloquially known as the “Unborn Child Protection Act” or the “Cocaine Mom Law.” We call it Act 292 because the Act harms both children and fetuses—it does not protect them—and the previously-used term “cocaine mom” elicits a false, slanderous, and racist trope about people who consumed cocaine during pregnancy, which we reject.

Arrests and Prosecutions of Pregnant Women, 1973-2020

In 2013, the Journal of Public Health Law and Policy published Pregnancy Justice (“Pregnancy Justice”) peer-reviewed study documenting arrests, detentions, and equivalent deprivations of physical liberty of women between 1973 and 2005 in which being pregnant was a necessary element of the crime or a “but for” reason for the coercive or punitive action taken.

Pregnancy and Drug Use

Carefully constructed, unbiased scientific research has not found that prenatal exposure to any criminalized drugs cause specific or unique harms. While there are numerous studies reporting findings that certain substances may increase a particular risk of harm, such as lower birth weight, research has not found that any criminalized substances are abortifacients, cause miscarriages or stillbirths, or cause specific harms or impairments to the children prenatally exposed.

What We Can Learn From Hospital Restrictions on Birth Support During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Pregnancy Justice

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The coronavirus pandemic, and our country’s lack of preparedness for it, give us an opportunity to make important observations and learn (or relearn) key lessons. Foundational issues including severe income inequality, lack of a national health care system, and corporatization of public goods and services are being exposed during this pandemic.