Category Archives: reproductive justice

Mother finds redemption after drug addiction

Oct. 4, 2016: A mother who fought addiction and criminal charges for giving birth to a drug addicted baby is sharing her story of redemption to encourage others who are in a similar situation.

Robin Wilhoit, WBIR 6:12 PM. EST October 04, 2016

A Tennessee mother who has struggled with addiction wants to make it easier to find help.

Only 11 percent of people who need treatment for drug addiction in Tennessee actually receive it, according to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

And there’s a growing epidemic of babies born drug dependent in East Tennessee.

Brittany Hudson’s teens and early 20′s were consumed with alcohol and oxycodone.

In 2014, Hudson was pregnant and addicted. She became one of the first women in Tennessee charged under a new state law with assaulting her unborn child. Continue reading

CELEBRATE MOTHERS IN RECOVERY FROM SUBSTANCE USE DISORDERS IN MAY

This was posted on May 9, 2016, on The Donaldson Adoption Institute website:

Mother’s Day evokes handmade cards from grade school kids to their moms, flowery cards to new moms, and loving cards for years of devotion to mothers from their adult children. For mothers who grapple with substance use the desire to do right by their children is complicated by the weight of addiction, which can tear families apart.

Making a documentary about a treatment program that helps mothers with substance use disorders keep their children is important to filmmaker, Sheila Ganz. In 1969, Ganz was an unwed mother. She became pregnant as the result of being raped. Her parents wanted her to go into a home for unwed mothers in Boston. Ganz didn’t want to go there. So she got a job, saved her money, bought a car and headed out for Los Angeles. She totaled her car just east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and was pinned under the car with a fractured pelvis at five months pregnant. After being in the hospital, she went into a Booth Memorial Home for Unwed Mothers. Ganz was not given a choice and unwillingly relinquished her newborn daughter for adoption. “Losing my daughter felt like an amputation. I lived for the day when I would find her and tell her I love her.” Continue reading

Pregnant women with addictions need healthcare, not handcuffs

The Guardian, April 12, 2016,  by Hernandez D Stroud

Every 19 minutes, a baby is born in America to a mother who struggles with opiate addiction, a percentage that has soared in the past decade alongside a broader addiction spike. The increase has forced some state lawmakers to decide whether the mother’s drug use, which can leave the baby with post-birth withdrawal called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), is a criminal justice issue or a disease.

As with heroin and opioid addiction outside of pregnancy, the consensus among doctors and advocates is that this is a health matter, and not one for the courts. (NAS is a highly treatable condition without long-term effects, though it’s still an unfortunate one: newborns with NAS convulse, projectile vomit and emit a telltale shriek.) President Obama agrees – he recently announced an increase in funds dedicated to treatment, and an increase in the number of patients a doctor can treat with some maintenance medications.

State lawmakers, on the other hand, are still learning. They tend to default to treating it as a crime, only to find that doesn’t work. Continue reading

Georgia the latest state to ‘ban the box’ in hiring practices

Washington Post, By Reid Wilson February 24, 2015

Georgia will no longer require job applicants to disclose their criminal histories on employment forms after Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed an executive order this week aimed at smoothing the reintegration process for former inmates.

Deal’s order [pdf] applies only to those seeking work with state agencies. It would prohibit those agencies from using a prior criminal history as an automatic disqualifier for job applicants. Those applicants will have the opportunity to discuss their criminal records in person.

The policy is known as “ban the box,” a reference to employment forms that ask about prior criminal convictions. Georgia is the 14th state to adopt the policy, along with states as diverse as Nebraska, New Mexico, California and Hawaii. Nationally, nearly 100 cities, including Washington, D.C., have adopted the same policy. Continue reading

Woman in El Salvador Acquitted of Homicide Charges for Pregnancy Complications

by Kathy Bougher
May 6, 2015 – 10:37 am, RH Reality Check

Carmelina Pérez, a Honduran woman living in El Salvador, was convicted of aggravated homicide and sentenced to 30 years in prison in July 2014 after suffering what appeared to be a miscarriage in the home where she was employed as a domestic worker. Pérez is not one of “Las 17,” the group of women imprisoned on abortion-related charges and for whom the La Agrupación Ciudadana por la Despenalización del Aborto (Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of Abortion) requested pardons from the Salvadoran government, because her case had not yet gone to trial at the time of their requests. Her story mirrors theirs, however: She, too, had her obstetrical emergency criminalized.

But last week, she was acquitted of all charges after 16 months in prison, setting a possible new precedent in the fight for reproductive justice in El Salvador.

In addition to creating a joyous victory for Pérez, now 21 years old, her trial provides an opportunity to expose and analyze in detail the medical and legal injustices that women frequently face in El Salvador. Continue reading