It’s time to talk about Wisconsin’s Unborn Child Protection Act (Act 292), which allows the state to accuse pregnant women of “unborn child abuse.” Under this law, the state can take certain pregnant women into custody, appoint a lawyer for her embryo or fetus, and forcibly place the woman in a drug treatment program, mental hospital, or jail on the basis of suspected drug or alcohol use – regardless of whether substance abuse is truly an issue. Although a federal court has ruled that the law is unconstitutional, it remains in effect because Governor Scott Walker and Attorney General Brad Schimel are fighting to keep the law in place.
At Reproaction, we know this is reproductive oppression. Mothers and expectant mothers who use or have used drugs shouldn’t be punished. All people, including pregnant women, deserve appropriate, confidential heath care without fear of losing their rights to medical decision-making, privacy, and liberty. As a result of continued enforcement of Act 292, expecting mothers seeking prenatal care and other forms of healthcare, including drug and alcohol treatment programs, may fear of being arrested and having their child taken away. This is not someone else’s problem. When pregnant women are denied their human rights, communities all over Wisconsin suffer.
Reproaction is organizing to educate the public about the threat posed to people who experience pregnancy through enforcement of Act 292 because we know that Wisconsinites deserve better. We deserve access to healthcare, not regressive laws that deny women their human rights and liberty.
As Reproaction’s Wisconsin organizer, I’m excited to work in my home state to advance reproductive justice. Sign up here to be a part of this important work!