Do you know about Wisconsin’s “Unborn Child Protection Act”? It was initially promoted and passed at the behest of activists who claimed it would address the problem of “cocaine moms.” However, state officials are now using the act to respond to the rising worries of pregnant women and opioid use. This law enables government officials to separate babies from their mothers and “take ownership” of women from the moment they fertilize an egg.
What Does This Mean for Women?
Under Wisconsin Act 292, the state can lock up any pregnant woman in a mental hospital or jail and subject them to treatment in mental health or drug treatment facilities. In addition, if a woman tells a healthcare official of previous drug use, they can end up in jail.
Is There Other States with This Law?
Wisconsin’s Act 292 is the only law like it in the country. While there are laws like it in other states, none are as harsh and demanding. It is the only one where the state can take physical custody of the pregnant woman and lock her up. In fact, the fetus is required to be appointed an attorney, and the mother is not.
Does This Happen to All Women with Past or Present Drug Use?
Sadly, low-income women are the primary targets of this act. In fact, they make up 72% of the women who are arrested, detained, and forced into intervention. In addition, 59% of these women are of color, and 52% are African American. These women are easier for state officials to identify and catch than those from higher-income situations.