"Fetal Protection" Movement

"The American 'fetal protection' movement is unique among developed and developing nations. While other nations also have populations of poor women whose lives are highly dysfunctional or who are addicted to alcohol and other drugs, only in the United States are these women treated as criminals or civilly committed based on their conduct while pregnant. Only in the United States do prosecutors take the position that embryos and fetuses should be protected as full human beings while in utero. At the same time, the United States stands alone among developed countries in failing to guarantee access to health care to women and children throughout their lives and in failing to provide other economic, legal, and social supports (including treatment for drug and alcohol addiction) in order to increase the chances that women can nurture and provide for their children, as well as reduce the incidence of women’s addiction."


Fentiman, Linda C., "Pursuing the Perfect Mother: Why America's Criminalization of Maternal Substance Abuse is Not the Answer," Pace Law Faculty Publications (New York, NY: Pace University School of Law: April 24, 2008), p. 4.