March 1, 2011

Advocate for pregnant women to speak March 7

Lynn Paltrow

Lynn Paltrow

Lynn Paltrow, founder and executive director of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, will speak from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, March 7 in Room 138 of William H. Gates Hall. Her topic is Why I Stopped Defending Abortion and Started Defending Pregnant Women.

Recently Congress and state legislatures across the country made women, especially pregnant women, the focus of their legislative activity by proposing bills that would deprive pregnant women of their constitutional and human rights, Paltrow said. She believes these laws would “undermine maternal, fetal and child health.”

Paltrow is a leading national litigator and strategist in cases involving the intersection of the war on reproductive freedom and the war on drugs.   She 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. Recently she acted as co-counsel/adviser in numerous cases involving challenges to criminal charges brought against women who have suffered stillbirths.

Paltrow frequently lectures and writes about the intersection of drug and reproductive rights policies. She is also a founding member of Be Present Inc., a national organization devoted to empowering women and girls. She 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. She 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.

On March 15, Paltrow will be presented the Margaret Sanger Woman of Valor Award by Planned Parenthood. Her talk is sponsored by the UW School of Law.