On criminalizing the actions of pregnant women

A pretty thoughtful article here on the effects on bodily agency of criminalizing drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Perhaps most interesting to me is that this is an article from The Guardian, and it’s using the U.S. as an example of what not to do. “There is no evidence from the US that the rising trend for punitive approaches to public health have had any positive effect, says Elizabeth Armstrong professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University.” The author, Rebecca Schiller, also makes a compelling case that such laws are part of a very slippery slope in terms of reproductive freedom. (She even cites Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.)

This leaves me wondering, then: What are some better (more effective, more just) ways to promote public health, public health for women, and public health during pregnancy that we could offer as alternatives to such draconian policies? What solutions to public health can we offer that truly support women, fetuses, and all involved?


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