LM in the News: ‘They Really Wanted to See My Baby Get Taken Away’

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March 21, 2023

‘They Really Wanted to See My Baby Get Taken Away’

Legal Momentum is thrilled to spotlight our client’s story published this morning in New York Magazine detailing her experience getting drug-tested without her knowledge or consent during labor and subsequently being subjected to an invasive, months-long child welfare investigation. Legal Momentum represents Terisa in a complaint brought before the New York State Division of Human Rights on the basis of sex, pregnancy, race, and marital status discrimination.

“Legal Momentum legal director Jennifer Becker, who is representing Terisa, points out that there’s a reproductive-justice argument against the practice too. Using pregnant people’s drug tests to trigger investigations by child-protective services is to “essentially accept the notion of fetal personhood,” Becker says, “because these are actions that a pregnant person is taking before there is a child.” Pregnancy itself becomes the basis for losing one’s rights.”

Read the full story, including quotes from our Legal Director, Jennifer Becker, and Deputy Legal Director and Senior Attorney for Economic Empowerment, Seher Khawaja, here.  

This coverage is an expansion of our Reproductive Justice work to end governmental intrusion into the lives of pregnant people, including the practice of hospitals nonconsensually drug-testing pregnant patients during routine medical care and reporting them to child protective services.

Our efforts include:

  • Supporting legislation that would require hospitals and other healthcare providers to obtain written and verbal consent before administering drug screens to pregnant patients;
  • Circulating our Know Your Rights fact sheets to educate pregnant patients on their rights as a person seeking healthcare;
  • and aiding callers to our Helpline who have also been subjected to nonconsensual drug-testing during prenatal care and/or labor.

The Syms Legal Momentum Gender Equality Helpline remains available at NO COST to provide legal information and referrals on issues related to sex discrimination in the workplace, home, school, and the courts.

          REACH us  LMHelpline.org
          EMAIL us   help@LMHelpline.org
          CALL us     1-800-649-0297 

Protecting women’s and girls’ rights begins with the law. Thank you for your ongoing support - you make our work possible!  Stay safe and stay healthy.

Legal Momentum Legal Team

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