criminatory way against the poor and women of color. Advocates of fetal abuse prosecution argue that substance-abusing mothers are unfit parents who must be forced into treatment if they wish to keep their children, whereas opponents of fetal abuse prosecution argue that such prosecutions weaken the family structure and force children into foster care, causing displacement and possibly exacerbating problems associated with prenatal substance abuse.
In our view, at this point the dangers of abuse outweigh the efficacy of using criminal prosecutions to force pregnant women to stop engaging in practices that endanger their fetuses. Allowing prosecutors wide latitude in charging women suspected of fetal abuse may drive pregnant addicts underground due to fear of losing their parental rights, ultimately making the cure worse than the disease.
We owe special thanks to Lynn Paltrow and her Administrative Assistant, Kathryn McGowan, of the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy for the information they so generously shared. We would also like to thank the American Prosecutors Research Institute and Eva J. Klain, Staff Attorney for the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse, for the data they so graciously supplied. We additionally thank Regina Weiss, a paralegal for Planned Parenthood, for the articles and information she supplied.