Our Bodies, Our Crimes: The Policing of Women’s Reproduction in America, a new book by Jeanne Flavin, NAPW's Board President
Read the "starred review" of Ms. Flavin's book in Publishers Weekly. Please note: Scroll down on linked page to the 7th entry to read the review.
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DECEMBER 14, 2015 — Earlier this month, Reuters released an investigative report, “Helpless & Hooked.” It alleges that the failure of physicians and hospitals to consistently report women who used drugs while pregnant (including those who used drugs prescribed by physicians) and the failure of child welfare systems to intervene in such cases directly or indirectly contributed to the preventable deaths of 110 infants nationwide.
National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) recognizes that every infant death is a grave loss. We also recognize, however, how much harm has been done to American families in the name of protecting children. This Reuters series is the latest in a long line of journalistic reports that perpetrate stigma.
This sensationalist report trades in the thoroughly debunked narratives and images of the "crack baby era.” This is an old narrative with an updated epidemic: opioid abuse created by overprescription of the powerful drugs. We now know that the generation of "crack babies" — predicted to have lifelong health and developmental problems due to maternal drug use — never materialized. The opening image of the baby with severe tremors is a classic image of the crack years, and it is now doing dangerous work here. It convinces readers that seeing is believing. But in this series, readers don’t get to hear from the best experts who would point out that any number of conditions — psychiatric medication withdrawal, low blood sugar, infection or lack of oxygen to the brain at birth — can also cause severe tremors in newborns. In the case of neonatal withdrawal from opiates, these symptoms are treatable and transitory.
Continue reading NAPW's full response here.continued »