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Lynn M. Paltrow
Lynn M. Paltrow, J.D., is the Founder and Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women ("NAPW"). Ms. Paltrow is a graduate of Cornell University and New York University School of Law. She has worked on numerous cases challenging restrictions on the right to choose abortion as well cases opposing the prosecution and punishment of pregnant women seeking to continue their pregnancies to term. Ms. Paltrow has served as a senior staff attorney at the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, as Director of Special Litigation at the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, and as Vice President for Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of New York City. Ms. Paltrow conceived of and filed the first affirmative federal civil rights challenge to a hospital policy of searching pregnant women for evidence of drug use and turning that information over to the police. In the case of Ferguson et. al., v. City of Charleston et. al., the United States Supreme Court agreed that such a policy violates the 4th amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Through her work as a national litigator and strategist in cases involving the intersection of the war on reproductive freedom and the war on drugs, Ms. Paltrow recognizes the need for a shift in the reproductive rights paradigm – away from divisive (and inaccurate) “pro-choice” and “anti-choice” categorizations and toward a set of inclusive, positive reproductive and family justice values around which a broad base of allies can mobilize. As Executive Director of NAPW Ms. Paltrow combines legal advocacy with grassroots activism and grasstops advocacy and policy work to bring about this shift.
to help bring about this shift. She is a frequent guest lecturer and writer for popular press, law reviews and medical journals and is the recipient of the Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Fellowship, the Georgetown Women's Law and Public Policy Fellowship, the Justice Gerald Le Dain Award for Achievement in the Field of Law, and was selected in 2005 as one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century by Women’sEnews.

Entries by Lynn M. Paltrow

Purvi Patel, Abortion, and the Feticide Playbook

(1) Comments | Posted May 27, 2016 | 12:41 PM

Recently, anti-abortion activists have claimed unequivocal opposition to punishment for women who have abortions. Meanwhile, Purvi Patel, an Indiana woman who sought to have a safe home abortion with medication, has already spent more than a year behind bars. Indiana does not have a law that criminalizes people who have...

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Denver Archbishop Has Wrong Response to Terrible Attack on Pregnant Woman

(1) Comments | Posted April 10, 2015 | 4:53 PM

Co-authored by Sara L. Ainsworth, National Advocate for Pregnant Women

Earlier this year, Michelle Wilkins was the victim of a horrific crime; she was beaten and stabbed, and the baby she was expecting to give birth to was cut from her belly. Miraculously, Wilkins, who...

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If Hobby Lobby Wants to Deny Insurance Coverage of Birth Control It Should Stop Selling Knitting Needles, Too

(106) Comments | Posted March 22, 2014 | 4:43 PM

Hobby Lobby is the Oklahoma-based chain of craft stores that is challenging the Affordable Care Act (ACA), claiming that the health-care reform law violates the corporation's free exercise of religion by requiring it to provide their employees with a health plan that covers the intrauterine device (IUD) and oral contraceptive...

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Are Pregnant Women Persons After 20 Weeks' Gestation?

(15) Comments | Posted November 19, 2013 | 11:53 AM

Co-authored by Jeanne Flavin, Ph.D.

Each year, 6 million women in the United States become pregnant. Approximately 4 million women go to term, 1 million have abortions, and nearly 1 million women experience pregnancy losses, including thousands of stillbirths that occur after 28 weeks of pregnancy. All of these women...

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New Study Reveals the Impact of Post-Roe v Wade Anti-Abortion and 'Pro-Life' Measures

(16) Comments | Posted January 15, 2013 | 6:06 PM

Co-authored by Lynn M. Paltrow, J.D. and Jeanne Flavin, Ph.D.

Today, the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law published our study, "Arrests of and Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women in the United States, 1973-2005: Implications for Women's Legal Status and Public Health." This study makes clear that post-Roe anti-abortion...

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Rape, Forced Pregnancy, Personhood, and Crimes Against Humanity

(212) Comments | Posted August 24, 2012 | 7:21 PM

It is likely that Colorado will, once again, have a so-called "personhood" measure on the ballot this November that seeks to have fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses treated as if they were entirely separate constitutional persons. If approved by Colorado's Secretary of State, this year's version of the measure, Proposed...

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When Does "Pro-Life" Equal "Pro-Imprisonment"?

(11) Comments | Posted April 18, 2012 | 12:54 PM

Co-authored by Emma S. Ketteringham

Last week, the Alabama Supreme Court agreed to consider an amicus (friend of the court) brief filed by the Liberty Counsel in support of the prosecutions of Hope Ankrom and Amanda Kimbrough. The Liberty Counsel describes itself as an organization whose mission includes...

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Personhood Measures in Disguise

(11) Comments | Posted April 2, 2012 | 5:21 PM

Co-authored by Emma S. Ketteringham

Citizens in Mississippi, once, and Colorado, twice, have resoundingly rejected so called "personhood" measures that would have established the "pre-born" as separate legal persons under the law. There is increasing evidence that when people understand the broad reach of such measures, they vote...

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Should Science Matter for Pregnant Women's Health Care and Rights?

(37) Comments | Posted January 18, 2012 | 4:32 PM

Co-authored by Farah Diaz-Tello

Why is it, we wonder, that when it comes to decisions regarding women and pregnancy, science is so often ignored? A case going to the New Jersey Supreme Court involving child neglect charges against a woman who allegedly used cocaine while she was pregnant directly raises...

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Is Locking Up Pregnant Women the New Cure for State Financial Woes and Mental Health Problems?

(11) Comments | Posted March 30, 2011 | 6:12 PM

This article was originally published by RH RealityCheck.

In December of 2010, Bei Bei Shuai, a 34-year-old pregnant woman living in Indiana, attempted to end her own life. She did so in one of the slowest and most painful ways possible: she consumed rat poison. With help...

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Open Letter to Sarah Palin -- How Will You Lead, What Will You Say?

(21) Comments | Posted January 11, 2011 | 3:26 PM

Dear Sarah Palin,

I am writing today about how you are responding to and how you will respond to the assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the murders of six other people.

By way of introduction and background, I am a cousin of Congresswoman Giffords. I am also an...

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PersonhoodUSA: Promoting a Radical, Fetal-Separatist Agenda

(2) Comments | Posted October 25, 2010 | 2:30 PM

Next week, people in Colorado will be voting on Amendment 62, a ballot measure sponsored by PersonhoodUSA. This organization seeks to establish the "pre-born," including eggs, embryos and fetuses, as separate "legal persons with protection under the law."
This organization claims that its goal is to end the...

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Utah Continues Reckless Efforts to Lock-Up Pregnant Women

(6) Comments | Posted March 6, 2010 | 12:31 PM

On Thursday, a Utah legislator withdrew a bill that would allow sentences of up to life in prison for a woman who experiences a miscarriage or stillbirth as a result of her "reckless" behavior. This move has been attributed to a "firestorm" of opposition. Almost immediately, however, Utah...

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Caution: Pregnancy May Be Hazardous to Your Liberty

(4) Comments | Posted March 2, 2010 | 5:08 PM

Lynn M. Paltrow and Farah Diaz-Tello

While our country stands at a deadlock over legislation to ensure that millions of uninsured people have health care coverage, we can at least feel confident that some state legislators are hard at work, making it more difficult for women to access health care...

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Roe v. Wade, "New" Science, & the Old Geography of Pregnancy

(39) Comments | Posted January 22, 2010 | 9:45 AM

According to PersonhoodUSA, one of the reasons Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided is that the Court did not have available to it the "well-known facts of fetal development." To explain, PersonhoodUSA is an organization...

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American Life League: Anti-Abortion "Personhood" Measures Really Will Hurt All Pregnant Women

(1) Comments | Posted August 5, 2009 | 6:07 PM

NAPW's video "How Personhood USA & The Bills They Support Will Hurt ALL Pregnant Women" and an earlier version that both appeared on the are attracting the attention of anti-abortion organizations who advance Personhood Measures across the country. These measures would grant "unborn"...

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Pregnant Women and Mothers Deserve Better

(2) Comments | Posted July 29, 2009 | 5:23 PM

In the aftermath of Dr. George Tiller's murder many people have asked whether anti-abortion rhetoric constitutes "hate speech" or an "incitement to terrorism." This rhetoric includes language describing abortion as a form of violence, as torture, an attack on innocent life, executing a child, killing, baby-killing, murder, child murder, mass...

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In Memory of Dr. George Tiller - He Supported Women's Dignity

(12) Comments | Posted June 2, 2009 | 10:54 AM

On May 31, 2009, Dr. George Tiller was murdered. When I think of Dr. Tiller and his clinic I think of compassion. What Dr. Tiller and his staff did each and every day was to give women their dignity.

Barely two weeks ago, when President Obama gave the commencement...

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Obama, the Bishops and the "Right to Life"

(0) Comments | Posted May 15, 2009 | 5:40 PM

More than 55 leading Catholic Bishops, all members of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, are speaking out against the University of Notre Dame's decision to host and honor President Barak Obama at their commencement ceremony on the 17th. Much of their ire is due to President Obama's support...

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The Bishops and the "Right to Life"

(22) Comments | Posted May 15, 2009 | 4:48 PM

More than 55 leading Catholic Bishops, all members of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, are speaking out against the University of Notre Dame's decision to host and honor President Barak Obama at their commencement ceremony on the 17th. Much of their ire is due to President Obama's support...

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