Against the Grain

Criminalizing Mothers

In recent years, mothers have found themselves in the cross hairs of the legal system, blamed for a wide range of risks to their children and unborn fetuses.  Cases have abounded where pregnant women have been committed out of suspicion of behavior that might affect their fetus, or even charged with murder after having a miscarriage.  They’ve also been charged with insufficiently protecting their children from abusive fathers — rather than charging the fathers themselves. Legal scholar Linda Fentiman discusses the attack on mothers, especially poor women and women of color.


Linda C. Fentiman, Blaming Mothers: American Law and the Risks to Children’s Health New York University Press, 2017

National Advocates for Pregnant Women

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