Category Archives: NYT Op Ed

NYT Op-Ed: Law Must Address How Violence Against Pregnant Women Harms Reproductive Freedom

National Partnership for Women & Families – Women’s Health Policy Report

April 13, 2015 — The risk of legislation aimed at criminalizing fetal homicide in Colorado and other states is that, “without statutory reform, the pregnant woman as a category of victim will remain overlooked, while the fetus gets special protection,” Deborah Tuerkheimer, a law professor at Northwestern University and former assistant district attorney in Manhattan, writes in a New York Times opinion piece.

According to Tuerkheimer, “[l]egally severing a fetus from the pregnant woman has the effect of pitting her interests against the fetus’s” and can make “women criminally responsible, not only for the life of the fetus, but also for its well-being.” For example, Tuerkheimer notes that fetal rights have been used to prosecute pregnant women — particularly those in “vulnerable and marginalized” populations — “for using drugs, refusing a cesarean section, having sex against a doctor’s recommendation and attempting suicide.” Continue reading