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National Advocates for Pregnant Women

Lynn M. Paltrow, J.D., is the Founder and Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women ("NAPW"). Ms. Paltrow is a graduate of Cornell University and New York University School of Law. She has worked on numerous cases challenging restrictions on the right to choose abortion as well cases opposing the prosecution and punishment of pregnant women seeking to continue their pregnancies to term. Ms. Paltrow 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. Ms. Paltrow 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. In the case of Ferguson et. al., v. City of Charleston et. al., the United States Supreme Court agreed that such a policy violates the 4th amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. 

Through her work as a national litigator and strategist in cases involving the intersection of the war on reproductive freedom and the war on drugs, Ms. Paltrow recognizes the need for a shift in the reproductive rights paradigm – away from divisive (and inaccurate) “pro-choice” and “anti-choice” categorizations and toward a set of inclusive, positive reproductive and family justice values around which a broad base of allies can mobilize. As Executive Director of NAPW Ms. Paltrow combines legal advocacy with grassroots activism and grasstops advocacy and policy work to bring about this shift.

She is a frequent guest lecturer and writer for popular press, law reviews and medical journals and 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, and was selected in 2005 as one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century by Women’sEnews.

All Work

Responding to the Arrests of Pregnant Women in Alabama


Amanda K. was six months pregnant and went into early labor with a prolapsed umbilical cord. She went to a local hospital for care where she underwent emergency surgery, but unfortunately her son soon died. But, rather than providing the support and compassionate care she and her family needed, the hospital drug tested her. The positive result was used as a basis for reporting her to the police and having her arrested for the crime of “chemical endangerment” of a child.

Victory in Kentucky Supreme Court!


I am thrilled to let you know that the Kentucky Supreme Court once again refused to advance the war on drugs to women's wombs and made clear that pregnant women, no less than other persons, are protected by the rule of law.

Drugs, Pregnancy and Parenting Part II: April 29, 2010


Across the country, politicians continue to use medical misinformation about drugs, pregnant women, and parents to justify new punitive laws and counterproductive state actions. On April 29, 2010, National Advocates for Pregnant Women, with New York University’s School of Law, and the NYU Silver School of Social Work will be hosting its second continuing education program to address the myths and misinformation that too often influence public policies concerning drug use, pregnant women and parents.