National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW)

Our commitment and vision are rooted in the broad principles and values of reproductive justice and human rights. Our work, making use of our particular knowledge, expertise and skills, focuses on pregnant women – especially those most likely to be targeted for punishment and control.While NAPW does more than legal advocacy, one way to simplify and sum up NAPW’s work is to say: If you are locked up because you are knocked up – call NAPW.One of the women who was locked up is Anna Yocca. On December 8, 2015 she was indicted for attempted first-degree murder based on the claim that she had used a coat hanger in an attempt to terminate her approximately 24-week pregnancy. After seeking help at a local hospital, she voluntarily underwent cesarean surgery and gave birth to a premature baby who has since been adopted. Ms. Yocca was arrested and bond was set at $200,000. She was incarcerated for more than a year in the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center without a trial or conviction. NAPW provided assistance to her criminal defense counsel.On 9 January, Ms. Yocca pleaded guilty to a lesser offense – attempted procurement of a miscarriage – to win immediate release from incarceration. As NAPW explained in our joint press release with Healthy and Free Tennessee, this plea deal should not be understood as validation of arresting and punishing pregnant women who have or try to have abortions, but rather a frightening example of how the criminal law system can be used to bully and punish pregnant women and mothers – with or without a conviction or valid law. Because of our efforts, coverage of the plea, including stories in The New York Times, NBC News and the Herald Chronicle, highlighted the injustice and danger of using the criminal law system to police and punish pregnant women.In addition to NAPW’s work on individual cases we also work on the big picture. For example, we join efforts to save the healthcare we have. NAPW exposes the fact that attacks on abortion are attacks on mothers and all pregnant women, including those who want to go to term. And, NAPW broadens the base of social justice activists through our public education and organizing efforts including the upcoming Take Root: Red State Perspectives on Reproductive Justice Conference. (Please join us in Norman, Oklahoma February 24-25, 2017).Given the existing and increasing attacks on all of us, including pregnant women, and inspired by ACT UP, an organization instrumental in fighting the AIDS pandemic and improving the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS, NAPW believes it is time to say:What does this mean? “Knocked Up” means to be pregnant. “Fight Back!” means working together to ensure that no one is stigmatized, shamed, punished, or denied health care or constitutional and human rights because they have the capacity for pregnancy, are pregnant, or because of the outcome of their pregnancies.SOURCE: NAPW Newsletter, 12 January 2017 ; PHOTO