Elizabeth Nolan Brown on Prosecuting Pregnant Drug Users

Daniel Oines/FlickrDaniel Oines/Flickr

The "crack baby" panic may have gone the way of the cassette tape, but America's womb-based war on drugs is alive and kicking. Fueled by a potent mix of drug war propaganda and fetal rights advocacy, states have been charging pregnant women who use drugs—however casually or legally—with everything from child neglect and "chemical endangerment" to contributing to the delinquency of a minor and felony assault. 

The National Association for Pregnant Women warns of "an increasing trend toward viewing pregnancy as a proper subject of the criminal law." Elizabeth Nolan Brown looks at how this trend is hurting women, babies, and families in states across America.  


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