What is Fetal Personhood 

Ongoing attacks to the reproductive justice movement—both moral affronts and legal challenges—have been in steady supply since Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973.[1] While anti-choice supporters often attempt to roll back reproductive protections through abortion access, many state legislators have also weaponized criminal law in the pursuit of “protect[ing] the health of women.”[2] These methods frequently take the form of fetal homicide laws (“FHLs”), which are statutorily-created criminal offenses punishing violence against pregnant women that results in injury or death of an unborn fetus.[3] While the vast majority of FHLs are advanced through a moral appeal of protecting the unborn and reducing violence against women, the language used by these statutes creates many legal issues.[4]

FHLs rely on the concept of legal personhood to create fetal rights eligible for protection by the state.[5] Legal personhood is derived from the Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment, which affords equal protection to “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States.”[6] Accordingly, constitutional personhood within the prenatal life context is a long-rejected concept; Roe affirmed that “the unborn have never been recognized as persons in the whole sense,” and fetuses possess legally assertible rights only in “narrowly defined situations and… when the rights are contingent upon live birth,” consistent with the word “born” in the Fourteenth Amendment.[7]

But because the Roe decision did not include an outright denial of fetal personhood, anti-choice supporters often claim that this avoidance of the fetal personhood question created a “collapse clause,” thereby weakening Roe.[8] This clause is purportedly triggered by legal recognition of fetal personhood, facilitating the overturning of Roe and re-criminalization of abortion.[9] Even moderates who reject the legitimacy of the collapse clause still maintain that FHLs are compatible with abortion rights.[10] However, these perspectives fail to see the numerous constitutional violations presented by granting unborn fetuses legally assertible rights.[11]

Issues with Fetal Personhood

The first issue with fetal personhood is the language used by FHLs. Most often, these statutes criminalize fetal harm from “the moment of conception.”[12] As of 2018, of the 38 states that have FHLs, 29 of them include this type of language, but roughly only 18 of those FHLs include explicit protections for pregnant women seeking abortions.[13] Recognizing fetal personhood at every stage of pregnancy creates an inherent conflict with long-held abortion rights, which explicitly forbid state involvement in women’s reproductive autonomy in the early stages of pregnancy.[14]

FHLs that create fetal personhood from conception generate two major complications. First, FHLs create personhood for the fetus in and of itself, meaning injury or death of the fetus is considered an independent harm sustained only by the fetus.[15] Fetal personhood recognizes the fetus as a per se victim, one whose rights are assertible (via the state) against any third party.[16] However, by failing to 1) recognize that fetal injuries and death occur first and foremost to and through pregnant women and 2) codify pregnant women as the sole victims of violence, FHLs prioritize the victimization of future life over the victimization of pregnant women.[17]

Conflicts with Abortion Rights

Second, per se personhood makes fetal rights assertible against pregnant women themselves.[18] Moderates who argue that fetal personhood is reconcilable between criminal law and abortion rights often cite the “protectionist” aspect of FHLs as a point of compatibility.[19] They contend that FHLs protect women from third-party violence and further abortion rights by ensuring all women have the ability to safely carry a pregnancy to term if they so choose.[20] However, in a disturbing trend, growing case law demonstrates the adversarial relationship between mother and fetus created by FHLs.[21]

For example, in 2013 at a prenatal check-up, Alicia Beltran told her doctor she had previously been addicted to Percocet, but had weened herself off the drug before getting pregnant. [22] Her doctor prescribed an opiate-suppressing medication should she need it for the remainder of her pregnancy.[23] Despite maintaining clean drug tests, Beltran’s social worker demanded she take the medication or face being reported to law enforcement.[24] When Beltran refused, the state took custody of her fetus and forced her into a drug treatment program, costing Beltran her job in the process.[25]

When fetal personhood becomes assertible against the very women carrying the fetuses, mother and fetus are pitted against one another by the state, dismantling the pro-women and protectionist justifications for FHLs.[26] Additionally, the slippery slope into abrogation of abortion rights no longer appears so outlandish; if FHLs seek to criminally punish women—and in some proposals enforce capital punishment against them—the next step toward the re-criminalization of abortion seems much more concrete.[27]

Conflicts with Due Process Rights

The adversarial mother-fetus relationship created by FHLs also presents a second complication outside the context of abortion rights. Historically, fetal personhood has been used as a pathway to facilitate quick prosecution of threats to fetal wellbeing, often to the detriment of women’s due process rights.[28] In the administration of FHL statutes and the adjudication of FHL cases, legislators, judges, and prosecutors often use the potential for fetal injury or death as a reason for taking “custody” or “control” of the fetus’ wellbeing.[29] The justification for this taking relies on the limited time frame of pregnancy and the need for immediate action.[30] However, taking “custody” of a fetus inherently means seizing control of a pregnant woman’s body as well.[31]

For example, in 1987, Angela Carder presented for treatment at the George Washington University Medical Center for chemotherapy for her recurring cancer, which she had defeated multiple times over the course of 14 years. [32] Although Carder was 25 weeks pregnant, she decided to move forward with chemotherapy when her doctors informed her that the fetus was too young to survive outside the womb.[33] Carder’s doctors then reported her decision to law enforcement.[34]

Subsequently, a court hearing was held to decide if the state should intervene.[35] Although Carder’s doctors admitted the risk of a C-section would endanger her life, Carder’s long-term cancer specialist was not consulted and Carder and her family’s vehement opposition to the surgery was not considered.[36] Carder was involuntarily hospitalized and forced to undergo a C-section.[37] Two hours later, the medically unviable fetus died, while Carder died two days later from a combination of trauma and lack of chemotherapy.[38]

The Fifth Amendment requires the states to follow both procedural and substantive due process before depriving a person of their life or liberty.[39] FHLs frequently result in violations of both types of due process.[40] Pregnant women charged under FHLs are consistently deprived of proper notice, impartial hearings, and the right to representation when facing the prospect of forced hospitalization, in violation of their procedural due process rights.[41]

For instance, in 1996, when Laura Pemberton’s doctors found out she was in active labor, they contacted law enforcement claiming that she was endangering her child’s life by delivering vaginally at home.[42] Police officers went to Pemberton’s home, physically strapped her legs together and drove her to the courthouse, despite her active labor.[43] There, Pemberton was denied an attorney and informed that the state’s interest in her fetus’s life required her to undergo a C-section.[44] Pemberton later sued over the forced procedure, after safely having three more vaginal births.[45]

Women charged under FHLs are also deprived of substantive due process when states prioritize fetal rights over women’s constitutional personhood.[46] Substantive due process requires a sufficient justification for the deprivation of life or liberty.[47] Accordingly, one would assume that future life which lacks constitutional personhood would not supersede women’s constitutional protections guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment. But, when fetal personhood is used to detain and operate on pregnant women, these states make it clear that their pursuit of protecting unborn life comes at the expense of women’s constitutional rights.[48]

Conflicts with Equal Protection Rights

The third issue created by FHLs involves a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and women’s equal protection guarantees. In many instances of the enforcement of FHLs, states have used these statutes to punish pregnant women for “prenatal negligence.”[49] For example, in 2009, Eileen Bower ate pasta with poppyseed dressing a few days before going into labor. [50] When her pre-labor bloodwork tested positive for opiates, Bower’s doctor reported her to law enforcement, despite her insistence that she was not using drugs.[51] Bower’s baby was taken by child welfare officials after birth and kept in foster care for 75 days, until the state confirmed that poppyseeds caused a false positive on Bower’s test and closed her case.[52]

Punishing “prenatal negligence” has even extended as far as making pregnant women criminally liable for their own stillbirths or miscarriages; if the fetal death is related to a mother’s “reckless” behavior, regardless of her intent to terminate the pregnancy, FHL advocates are satisfied with a punitive response.[53] However, there are many concerns with using FHLs to prosecute “prenatal negligence.” First, approximately “50% of all fertilized eggs will die and be spontaneously aborted by a woman’s body before the woman knows she is pregnant,” most of which “are the result of chromosomal defects that make it impossible for the baby to develop.” [54]  While a medical discussion on how the actions of pregnant women relate to fetal injury or death is beyond the scope of this article, the inability of medical professionals to fully trace the causes of fetal harm is one major worry.[55]

Second, using FHLs to prosecute women’s prenatal actions criminalizes reproductive capacity in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.[56] Enforcing fetal personhood through criminal law enables the state to create an entirely separate system of supervision, policing, and criminalization that solely affects women’s bodies.[57] In effect, the criminal justice system becomes one where women’s reproductive capacities define which laws they are subject to and what judicially managed behavior they must adhere to.[58]

For example, while FHLs purport to protect women during the nine-month prenatal period, an increasing number of legislative proposals have sought to regulate the behavior of pregnant women in any context affecting the fetus, not limited to third-party violence. [59] For example, in 2006, Arkansas Representative Bob Mathis proposed legislation, with criminal punishments attached, that would ban pregnant women from smoking cigarettes.[60]

Some of this legislation is alarmingly reminiscent of the fetal protection policies of the 20th century, where women of reproductive capacity were subject to employment discrimination and state control on the grounds of “protecting” women’s reproductive organs from environmental damage.[61] For instance, in the 1980s, fertile women were banned from working in the American Cyanamid Factory in West Virginia.[62] Fertile women employed by the factory were relegated to lower-paying positions, despite the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (“OSHA”) findings that lead paint damaged the reproductive organs of males and females equally.[63]

This type of legislation and enforcement of FHLs creates unequal treatment between those who possess child-bearing organs and those who do not, violating the Fourteenth Amendment and perpetuating state control of women’s bodily autonomy.[64]

Conflicts with Privacy Rights

The fourth issue created by fetal personhood involves the right to privacy, largely derived from the Fourth Amendment.[65] At the intersection of criminal law and physical autonomy, the right to privacy has protected criminal defendants from involuntary medical and psychological procedures, as well as women’s abortion rights.[66]

Given the scope of Fourth Amendment adjudication, any constitutional challenge to FHLs would reveal significant privacy violations. First, the involuntary detainment, forced medical procedures, and state-sanctioned policing of pregnant women described previously are all forms of privacy violations.[67] Autonomy over the functions of one’s own organs is one of the most intimate privacy settings imaginable.[68] Yet, FHLs call for state control over women’s reproductive organs in violation of their constitutional privacy rights, with no adjacent or competing privacy rights possessed by fetuses.[69]

Second, administration of FHLs results in frequent privacy violations committed by healthcare professionals.[70] Healthcare agencies in states with zealous enforcement of FHLs often report pregnant mothers for the same kind of “prenatal negligence” concerns discussed above.[71] This reporting often involves turning over confidential medical files without the patient’s knowledge, which is a largely unprecedented practice considering the strong medical privacy protections normalized and enforced by statutes like HIPAA.[72]

Further, states have also sought to dictate pregnant women’s healthcare by depriving them of end-of-life decisions.[73] Since the 1990s, many states have passed legislation, enabled by the idea of fetal personhood, that prevents women in comas or vegetative states from being removed from life support if they are pregnant.[74] These laws are enforced without regard to what stage of development the fetus is in, what the woman’s end-of-life preferences were, or whether or not the woman is experiencing pain as a result of remaining alive.[75] Depriving women of end-of-life autonomy is an extreme and disturbing violation of their privacy rights.

In detailing the various constitutional violations posed by FHLs and fetal personhood, it becomes apparent that conflicts with abortion rights and fears over criminalization of reproductive capacity are not abstract concerns. The degradation of women’s bodily autonomy and constitutional personhood are issues that should be forefront concerns of every state government.

Broader Implications

Racial and Economic Disparities

While FHLs present many distinct constitutional issues, they also involve several broader concerns. First, when FHLs are enforced using the “prenatal negligence” method described above, BIPOC[76] and low socioeconomic status communities face disproportionate consequences.[77] These disadvantaged populations are subject to over-policing, hyper-criminalization, and scarce access to abortion facilities and prenatal care that all exacerbate the effects of FHLs.[78]

For example, during the 1970s and the “War on Drugs” era, the media heavily reported on “black women addicts” that they claimed were “giving birth to a generation of neurologically damaged children… who would bankrupt the schools and social service agencies once they came of age.”[79] A 2013 study by the National Association for Pregnant Women evaluated 413 cases of state action against pregnant women between 1973 and 2005. [80] Seventy-one percent of women charged under FHLs qualified for indigent defense and 59% were women of color, with 52% of those women being Black.[81] Decades later, the discriminatory enforcement and disparate consequences of FHLs prove themselves alive and well.

Expansion of Criminal Law

The second troubling implication of FHLs concerns the expansion of criminal law. In examples of extreme enforcement of FHLs, pregnant women have been criminally charged in the deaths of their fetuses, even when the death was accidental or caused by a third-party. [82] For example, in 2019, Marshae Jones was charged with involuntary manslaughter when she was shot in the stomach during an argument and miscarried.[83] Law enforcement officials stated that since Jones instigated the argument, she “deserved the blame” for the shooting.[84]

Choosing to charge women like Jones with crimes is alarming for multiple reasons. When women are charged with serious crimes under FHLs—most often involuntary manslaughter— the scope of criminal liability is significantly expanded.[85] Involuntary manslaughter charges are premised upon the defendant’s knowledge of the risk of the situation and how they disregarded such risk.[86] By charging women under this type of criminal liability, the state demands that pregnant women foresee any circumstance where fetal harm could result, regardless of the source or remoteness of the harm. [87] States then run the risk of creating unconstitutional vagueness in criminal statutes, as well as increased litigation, overburdening of the courts, and overdeterrence.[88]


Although the implications of FHLs are alarming, there are alternative solutions to properly and constitutionally account for harm to unborn life. Fetal death enhancements (“FDEs”) are criminal statutes that can, and in many cases already do, hold third parties liable for violence against pregnant women.[89] FDEs are most often attached to existing assault, homicide, or other violent crimes statutes.[90] They function by elevating the severity of the charged crime, usually through lengthier sentencing or higher mandatory minimums.[91] As of 2018, only eight states employ FDEs over FHLs.[92]

FDEs ensure that fetal harm is accounted for in sentencing, while also centering pregnant women as the rightful victims of violence and avoiding any attempts to create fetal personhood.[93] While FDEs are a step in the right direction, states should also consider providing additional protections for pregnant women in statutes like FDEs. Explicit provisions exempting the actions of pregnant women from FDEs for any type of “prenatal negligence” would help prevent the Constitutional violations discussed above.[94] Further, FHLs and FDEs should avoid language that creates fetal personhood during early stages of pregnancy to prevent conflicts with abortion rights.[95]

The punitive response to accidental or unforeseeable prenatal harm is reflective of a deep-rooted disdain for women who fail to provide the “ideal uterine environment for offspring” or who do not fit society’s image of the “perfect mother.”[96] Existing criminal law is more than capable of dealing with people, pregnant women included, who intentionally harm unborn life.

Going Forward

Despite the serious risks that fetal personhood and FHLs pose to women’s constitutional rights and bodily autonomy, post-2010 legal and academic literature on this topic is severely lacking. In the coming years, it will be imperative for the legal community to confront the challenges brought about by fetal personhood and reverse these trends aimed at criminalizing, controlling, and oppressing women. [i]

[1] See generally, Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973); Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297 (U.S. 1980) (denying public funding under the Medicaid Act for medically necessary abortions); Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, 136 S. Ct. 2292 (2016) (finding that requiring abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within a 30 mile radius of their abortion facility violated the Fourteenth Amendment); June Medical Services, LLC v. Russo, 140 S. Ct. 2103 (2020), aff’g Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, 136 S. Ct. 2292 (2016).

[2] June Medical Services, 140 S. Ct. at 2153 (Alito, J., dissenting); Please note, for the purposes of this article, the use of “woman/women” also refers to those who identify as non-binary, gender queer, AFAB, and other persons with a uterus.

[3] See Dawn E. Johnsen, The Creation of Fetal Rights: Conflicts with Women’s Constitutional Rights to Liberty, Privacy, and Equal Protection, 95 YALE L.J. 599, 603 (1986).

[4] See Juliana Vines Crist, The Myth of Fetal Personhood: Reconciling Roe and Fetal Homicide Laws, 60 CASE W. RSRV. L. REV. 851, 853 (2010).

[5] See What’s Wrong With Fetal Rights, ACLU, https://www.aclu.org/other/whats-wrong-fetal-rights (last visited July 18, 2020) [hereinafter What’s Wrong].

[6] See Crist, supra note 4, at 854 (“Constitutional personhood” means personhood as defined by the language of the Fourteenth Amendment granting equal protection to “All persons born or naturalized in the United States”) (emphasis added); U.S. CONST. amend. XIV, § 1.

[7] U.S. CONST. amend. XIV, § 1; Roe, 410 U.S. at 161-62.

[8] See Alex Swoyer, ‘Roe Exception’ Challenge Needed After Fetal Homicide Law Upheld, Alabama Justice Tom Parker Says, AP NEWS (Oct. 30, 2018), https://apnews.com/09c731313cd56018857f0f0a10c8add5.

[9] Id.

[10] See Crist, supra note 4, at 854.

[11] See What’s Wrong, supra note 5.

[12] State Laws on Fetal Homicide and Penalty-enhancement for Crimes Against Pregnant Women, NAT’L CONF. STATE LEGISLATURES (May 1, 2018), https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/fetal-homicide-state-laws.aspx [hereinafter State Laws].

[13] Id.

[14] See Roe, 410 U.S. at 149-50.

[15] See Johnsen, supra note 3, at 613.

[16] Id.

[17] Id. at 611.

[18] Id. at 613.

[19] See, e.g., Douglas S. Curran, Note, Abandonment and Reconciliation: Addressing Political and Common Law Objections to Fetal Homicide Laws, 58 DUKE L.J. 1107, 1141-42 (2009).

[20] Id.

[21] See P.R. Lockhart, A shooting Ended Marshae Jones’s Pregnancy. Police Say It’s Her Fault., VOX (June 27, 2019, 7:00 PM), https://www.vox.com/identities/2019/6/27/18761652/marshae-jones-alabama-misscarriage-shooting-indictment.

[22] See Chancey B. Herbolsheimer, Fetal Homicide Laws: The Policing of Women’s Bodies, 8 INQUIRIES J. 1, 1 (2016), http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/articles/1464/fetal-homicide-laws-the-policing-of-womens-bodies.

[23] Id.

[24] Id.

[25] Id. (Beltran was detained under a 1998 Wisconsin statute that allowed for the forcible confinement of pregnant women who refused treatment for drugs or alcohol).

[26] See id.

[27] Id.; see E.M. Dadlez & William L. Andrews, Not Separate, But Not Equal: How Fetal Rights Deprive Women of Civil Rights, 26 PUB. AFF. Q. 103, 111 (2012) (Georgia State Representative Bobby Franklin proposed legislation criminalizing miscarriages and abortions as “prenatal murder,” where miscarriages were punishable by death if the woman who miscarried could not prove that there was “no human involvement whatsoever” in her miscarriage).

[28] See Johnsen, supra note 3, at 608.

[29] Id.

[30] See id.

[31] Id.

[32] See Terry E. Thornton & Lynn Paltrow, The Rights of Pregnant Patients: Carder Case Brings Bold Policy Initiatives, 8 HEALTHSPAN 10 (1991).

[33] Id.

[34] Id.

[35] Id.

[36] Id.

[37] Id.

[38] Id.

[39] See U.S. CONST. amend. V.

[40] See Dadlez & Andrews, supra note 27, at 103.

[41] Id. (Samantha Burton was forcibly confined at a hospital when the state intervened to “protect her unborn child,” despite being denied an attorney at her court hearing as well as a second medical opinion); see also Lynn M. Paltrow & Jean Flavin, Arrests of and Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women in the United States, 1973-2005: Implications for Women’s Legal Status and Public Health, 38 J. HEALTH POL., POL’Y, & L. 299, 307 (2013) (when Rachel Lowe was committed to a psychiatric ward after seeking help for her Oxycontin addiction, she was not appointed counsel until 12 days after her arrest, although her fetus was appointed a guardian ad litem within 24 hours).

[42] See Paltrow & Flavin, supra note 41, at 306-07.

[43] Id.

[44] Id.

[45] Id.

[46] See Dadlez & Andrews, supra note 27, at 118-19.

[47] Id. at 114 (highlighting how courts have consistently held that the right to refuse medical treatment is a constitutional right that can only be overcome by a compelling state interest) (emphasis added).

[48] Id.

[49] What’s Wrong, supra note 5.

[50] See Rich Lord, Lawrence County Paid $160,000 to Settle Case of Baby Taken After Mom Ate Poppy Seeds, PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE (Mar. 14, 2014, 11:06 PM), https://www.post-gazette.com/local/west/2014/03/14/Lawrence-County-paid-160-000-to-settle-case-of-baby-taken-after-mom-ate-poppy-seeds/stories/201403140189#.

[51] Id.

[52] Id.

[53] See Dadlez & Andrews, supra note 27, at 111 (In 2010, Utah’s House of Representatives proposed a bill to penalize women who attempted to induce miscarriages, applicable to any point in pregnancy. The bill was alarming in that it made women legally responsible for stillbirths and miscarriages caused by “reckless” behavior, regardless of intent).

[54] Herbolsheimer, supra note 22 (“There are numerous other possible causes of miscarriage, and in reality, it can be difficult for medical professionals to determine with certainty what caused it. It is dangerous to criminalize a process that women have little to no control over.”).

[55] Id.

[56] See What’s Wrong, supra note 5; U.S. CONST. amend. XIV, § 1.

[57] See What’s Wrong, supra note 5.

[58] Id.

[59] See Dadlez & Andrews, supra note 27, at 110.

[60] Id.

[61] Id. at 112.

[62] Id.


[64] See What’s Wrong, supra note 5.

[65] See Roe, 410 U.S. at 152-53 (“The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy. In a line of decisions, however, going back perhaps as far as Union Pac. R. Co. v. Botsford, 141 U.S. 250, 251 (1891), the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution. In varying contexts, the Court or individual Justices have, indeed, found at least the roots of that right in the… Fourth and Fifth Amendments”); U.S. CONST. amend. IV.

[66] Id.; see Schmerber v. California, 384 U.S. 757 (1966) (allowing law enforcement to forcibly draw a defendant’s blood because of the urgency of obtaining blood-alcohol evidence before it dissipated, but noting that the “integrity of an individual’s person is a cherished value of our society. That we today hold that the Constitution does not forbid the State’s minor intrusions into an individual’s body under stringently limited conditions in no way indicates that it permits more substantial intrusions, or intrusions under other conditions”).

[67] See Johnsen, supra note 3, at 619.

[68] See generally, Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (U.S. 1965) (affirming the intensely private nature of reproductive decision-making by invalidating state attempts to deprive married couples of access to contraceptives, largely because the level of state intrusion needed for enforcement would be enormous).

[69] See Johnsen, supra note 3, at 619.

[70] See What’s Wrong, supra note 5.

[71] Id.

[72] Id.; Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, 42 U.S.C. § 1320d-6; see also U.S. DEP’T HEALTH & HUM. SERVS., SUMMARY OF THE HIPAA PRIVACY RULE (last rev. 2003).

[73] See A Woman’s Rights, Part 2: The Feticide Playbook, Explained, N.Y. TIMES, (Dec. 28, 2018), https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/12/28/opinion/pregnancy-exclusion-law.html [hereinafter Feticide Playbook].

[74] Id.

[75] Id.

[76] Black, Indigenous, People of Color.

[77] See Paltrow & Flavin, supra note 41, at 311.

[78] See Amy Roeder, America is Failing Its Black Mothers, HARV. PUB. HEALTH MAG. (Winter 2019), https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/magazine/magazine_article/america-is-failing-its-black-mothers/.

[79] Feticide Playbook, supra note 73.

[80] See Paltrow & Flavin, supra note 41, at 311.

[81] Id.

[82] See, e.g., Lockhart, supra note 21.

[83] Id.

[84] Id.

[85] See What’s Wrong, supra note 5.

[86] See Involuntary Manslaughter, JUSTIA, https://www.justia.com/criminal/offenses/homicide/involuntary-manslaughter/ (last updated Apr. 2018).

[87]  See What’s Wrong, supra note 5.

[88] Id.

[89] See State Laws, supra note 12.

[90] Id.

[91] Id.

[92] Id. (“At least eight states–Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon and Wyoming–have penalty-enhancement laws for crimes against pregnant women.”).

[93] See What’s Wrong, supra note 5.

[94] Id.

[95] Id.

[96] Herbolsheimer, supra note 22.

[i] * Maddie McClain, J.D., expected May 2022, The George Washington University Law School. I would like to thank the GW Law Criminal Law Society for this opportunity and the staff of the Criminal Law Brief, particularly Ellen Boettcher, for all of their help on this article. The biggest thank you goes to women everywhere who are fighting for and uplifting each other and ourselves.

*Image is credited to Ralf-Finn Hestoft, Corbis Images, and Getty Images