Criminalized Pregnancy: Drug Abuse, Fetal Rights, & Dehumanization of Poor Women
Several questions arise from the conflicting issue of fetal rights versus maternal rights. The mother and the baby should be considered as one entity, so why are state policies trying to separate the two? Why are states more interested in punitive measures as opposed to treatments? Who reaps the benefits from this type of misguided retribution? More importantly, why aren’t mothers’ rights just as important if not more important than the rights of the fetus? In this paper, I plan to explore the complex nature of fetal and maternal rights within the context of the Alicia Beltran case, showing how state policies criminalize the drug use of pregnant women further I argue that we need to pay special attention to class because women of lower economic class are put at a higher risk for being criminalized.
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