Pregnant Drug Users, Fetal Persons and the Threat to Roe v. Wade

January 13, 1999

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By: Lynn Paltrow, 62 Albany Law Review 999 (1999)

Roe v. Wade marked only the beginning of the struggle for reproductive justice for all women. Many women fall outside of its "core" protections. Among these are drug addicted pregnant women. This article addresses how the arrest and prosecution of these women, based on claims of fetal personhood, reflect the extent to which Roe is vulnerable. By linking anti-abortion arguments to other highly-charged political issues and to particularly marginalized groups of women, anti-choice advocates have made significant inroads on the limited rights won in Roe v. Wade. Twenty-five years after Roe v. Wade's decision that fetuses are not legal persons, claims of fetal personhood are gaining unprecedented legal recognition while the struggle for women's rights and full constitutional personhood remains far from finished.