Lawyering Up Before Birth

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oklahoma and South Dakota, there are laws in place that allow authorities to detain pregnant women for substance abuse. The Wisconsin fetal protection law, which was passed in 1998, allows child-welfare authorities to forcibly confine a pregnant woman who uses illegal drugs or alcohol – and who refuses to accept treatment – “to a severe degree.” Proponents of the law say that it is intended to protect mothers and babies. The first federal challenge of this law was filed this month. What could be wrong with this well-meaning law?

The law disproportionately affects …read more