The group National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) has stated that passage of an initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot in Colorado could result in arrest and prosecution of women who use alcohol or tobacco during pregnancy. Amendment 67 in Colorado would redefine personhood in the state's criminal code and wrongful death act to include the unborn.
A fact sheet from NAPW “includes real-life examples of pregnant women who have already been arrested, prosecuted, and imprisoned under child abuse and other criminal laws based on the principles that Amendment 67 would put into law,” states an Oct. 22 news release from the advocacy organization.
The amendment is being called the “Brady Project” in Colorado because it was advanced by a woman who lost her unborn son (to be named Brady) during her 8th month of pregnancy when she was in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. Current law in Colorado considers a fetus to be part of a woman's body until birth.
Colorado voters in 2008 and 2010 rejected similar amendments that would have resulted in a fetus being considered a person in all areas of the law. The current amendment is more narrowly defined to focus specifically on the state's criminal code and wrongful death act.
NAPW states, “If Amendment 67 passes, a pregnant woman could be arrested and prosecuted for 'child abuse' or 'reckless endangerment' for refusing a cesarean surgery, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, or engaging in a variety of everyday household and workplace activities if law enforcement authorities believe they create 'a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to an unborn human being.'” Groups such as NAPW have said such measures discourage some women from pursuing needed treatment for substance use problems, for fear of being prosecuted and/or losing their children.