Victory in Pregnancy Criminalization Case

Gender Justice joined the Women’s Law Project’s amicus brief to support the defendant in Commonwealth v. Dischman, a case in which a Pennsylvania woman was charged with a first-degree felony for overdosing on opioids while pregnant. After receiving care for her overdose, Dischman went straight from the hospital to jail, with a bail set at $500,000.

Today, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled in favor of Ms. Dischman and upheld the dismissal of her felony charge.

As advocates for reproductive freedom, we had grave concerns about the consequences of prosecuting pregnant people for actions they take with their own body.

If Dischman had not been pregnant, they would have just offered her treatment instead. While Pennsylvania has laws that criminalize the assault of a fetus, these laws only apply when another person assaults a pregnant woman and causes harm to the fetus. There’s a huge difference between punishing a third party and punishing bodily autonomy.
— Christy Hall, Gender Justice Staff Attorney

Read the Dischman opinion here.

 

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