USA: Criminalizing pregnancy: Policing pregnant women who use drugs in the USA

Index number: AMR 51/6203/2017. In the USA, pregnant women lie at the center of a contested battleground over their sexual and reproductive rights. A series of laws police the behavior of pregnant women and particularly impact those who are marginalized and those who use drugs. Collectively called pregnancy criminalization laws, this report provides a basic overview of the impact of these laws on women’s human rights and access to healthcare across the USA, and specifically focuses on two criminal laws in Alabama and Tennessee. Amnesty International is asking the authorities to repeal these laws. Instead of relying on punishment, states must ensure they are meeting their human rights obligations including ensuring access to healthcare.

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