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University of Michigan Law School

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

Discrimination

Health Law and Policy

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Putting The Fetus First — Legal Regulation, Motherhood, And Pregnancy, Emma Milne Jun 2020

Putting The Fetus First — Legal Regulation, Motherhood, And Pregnancy, Emma Milne

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

The fetus-first mentality advocates that pregnant women and women who could become pregnant should put the needs and well-being of their fetuses before their own. As this Article will illustrate, this popular public perception has pervaded criminal law, impacting responses to women deemed to be the “irresponsible” pregnant woman and so the “bad” mother. The Article considers cases from Alabama and Indiana in the United States and from England in the United Kingdom, providing clear evidence that concerns about the behavior of pregnant women now hang heavily over criminal justice responses to women who experience a negative pregnancy outcome or ...