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Criminalization of Pregnancy & Reproductive Health

NACDL is committed to helping defense attorneys navigate a wide range of pregnancy and abortion related cases. NACDL is building a hub for information, practice materials, trainings, briefs, news, and more. These resources provide counsel with the tools and education they need to defend those charged with seeking, providing, or abetting abortions, as well as prosecutions related to pregnancy outcomes or behavior while pregnant.

As a leader in the fight against overcriminalization and mass incarceration, NACDL is committed to providing the defense bar with the tools they need to take on the complex and varied cases arising from the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Resources will include legal news, information on in-person and virtual trainings, and court filings focused on the specific issues defenders will encounter in these cases. These tools support lawyers in their defense of cases ranging from child endangerment to homicide brought against a wide array of individuals, including women charged for their pregnancy outcomes or actions while pregnant, abortion seekers, providers, and those caught up in the wide net of related conspiracy and accomplice statutes. Initial funding for this work was made possible by funds from the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice, and the Evelyn D. Reimer Fund at the NFCJ.

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Upcoming Events

National Summit on the Criminalization of Reproductive Healthcare: Developing Defenses After Dobbs. Friday, December 16, 2022, 10:00 - 4:00 pm Easter. George Washington Law School, Washington, DC

An invitation-only in-person event

SAVE THE DATE

Free webinar: Conspiracy, RICO, and Accomplice Liability in the Post-Dobbs World. Friday, December 2, 2-4pm ET / 11am-1pm PT

POSTPONED (new date TBA): A free webinar presented by Martín Sabelli and Addy Schmitt

Reference Library

Tools to assist defense lawyers in representing clients facing these charges, such as training videos and materials, legal reference documents, and pleadings. The library is developing so please bookmark the page to see what is new. Have a great addition to share with others? Please contribute a resource item.

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Watch the webinar Post Roe: Building Defenses in Pregnancy-Related Prosecutions: Understanding the Issues & the Science

State-by-State Summaries

NACDL’s CPHRP has worked with dozens of law professors and other legal experts to create this overview of relevant state laws including existing abortion laws, trigger laws that are or will soon be in effect, pre-Roe statutes that prosecutors might invoke, and fetal personhood laws. NACDL is committed to developing resources to prepare attorneys to advise clients and defend cases in the face of the criminalization of personal choice and health.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to all the volunteers who contributed these CPRHP state-by-state reports. 

NACDL provides practice material submitted or shared by members and non-members, as well as external links to reliable sources, and more. NACDL does not endorse or verify the content of third-party materials posted here and advises all to check that the law is current and relevant to their jurisdiction. Information provided should not be construed as legal advice.

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The Taskforce

The Task Force will offer support to defense counsel through education and a resource center. The Task Force will work alongside NACDL Affiliate and other organizations protecting the rights of those targeted in reproductive health and pregnancy related prosecutions. This Task Force will pursue NACDL’s mission to serve as a leader, alongside diverse coalitions, in identifying and reforming flaws and inequities in the criminal legal system, and redressing systemic racism, and ensuring that its members and others in the criminal defense bar are fully equipped to serve all accused persons at the highest level.

Training Working Group

Plans and conducts in-person and virtual training activities to educate attorneys representing individuals accused of offenses related to pregnancy and reproductive health. Training events have begun and the development of future events is ongoing.

Research & Resources Working Group

Works to provide a curated and searchable online reference library for defense lawyers to support representation of the accused and education on topics pertinent to defense on this issue. Examples of materials include but are not limited to briefs, motions, legal research, and a list of subject area experts.

National Points of Contact Working Group

Works with members and affiliates to identify points of contact (POC) in each state. The POCs will handle questions regarding state specific laws and legal issues. They will assist in building out a network and the coordination of local counsel to answer questions, conduct research, and support training. 

Media Inquires

Media inquiries should be directed to Jessie Diamond at jdiamond@nacdl.org or (202)-465-7647 and Kate Holden at kholden@nacdl.org or (202) 465-7624.

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Interview with Lisa Wayne

NPR: Criminal defense lawyers sound the alarm about mass incarceration if Roe falls

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