During the last week of October, Reproaction led two informational pickets in Milwaukee outside of the River Shore Comprehensive Treatment Center and the 10th Street Comprehensive Treatment Center to educate on Wisconsin’s Unborn Child Protection Act (Act 292).
The Unborn Child Protection Act, otherwise known as Act 292 or the “cocaine mom” law, allows Wisconsin to accuse certain pregnant people of “unborn child abuse.” This allows the state to take certain pregnant women into custody, assign a lawyer for the embryo or fetus, and send them to drug treatment, hospitals, or jail – whether or not drug treatment is really needed. Wisconsin has accused hundreds of pregnant people of “unborn child abuse” under Act 292.
For the first informational picket, I stood outside of the River Shore Comprehensive Treatment Center for about an hour and gave out approximately 15 flyers to people entering and leaving the clinic. Many people approached me to ask what I was handing out, and most asked follow-up questions about what the act was and how it was being enforced. After a long conversation about Act 292 and reproductive justice, I was told by a patient that another pair of patients ran into a similar issue with drug use and pregnancy, and they took extra flyers to give to the couple in case they did not come for treatment that day.
Later in the week, I picketed outside of the 10th Street Comprehensive Treatment Center for about an hour and gave out approximately 15 flyers. I spoke to one woman who told me that her daughter experienced something similar to the enforcement of Act 292, and took extras to give to others. As I explained Act 292 to one patient in particular, she told me that she is currently pregnant and read the flyer intently as she walked to her car. Overall, people seemed shocked, upset, and angry at the enforcement of Act 292 and those who keep Act 292 in place.
Act 292 is dangerous for pregnant people and harms Wisconsin communities. Reproaction will continue working to inform those who are vulnerable to enforcement of Act 292 until this regressive law is eliminated.