International Women’s Day: Time to End Violence Against Pregnant Women

International   Americans United for Life   Mar 8, 2013   |   11:37AM    Washington, DC

In commemoration of this year’s International Women’s Day, Americans United for Life reaffirms our commitment to protect pregnant women and their unborn children from violence.  In 1975, the United Nations began celebrating March 8 as International Women’s Day. The United Nations’ theme for International Women’s Day 2013 is, “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.”

AUL President and CEO, Dr. Charmaine Yoest commented, “AUL’s ‘Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act’ addresses the growing problem of pregnancy-related violence against women.  As we remember International Women’s Day, we renew our commitment to protect pregnant women and their unborn children. As the UN marks 2013 as the Year to End Violence Against Women, we will continue to emphasize the need to end violence against pregnant women.”

“On this International Women’s Day, the UN has declared that 2013 is the time to end violence against women. Americans United for Life calls on states to enact laws protecting pregnant women from violent crimes and abuse,” says AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest.

She continued, “We also commend the state of Arkansas which enacted AUL’s ‘Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act’.  We encourage other states to follow their lead in protecting pregnant women across this country.”

AUL’s “Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act” seeks to ensure that a pregnant woman and her unborn child are protected from unlawful criminal violence and that a woman’s decision to carry her child to term is respected. AUL drafted the legislation in response to studies showing higher incidences of violence and abuse during pregnancy than any other period in a woman’s life.  Last week, the state of Arkansas enacted the “Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act.”  The Arkansas Senate passed the bill unanimously, and it passed the House without a single dissenting vote.

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According to the March of Dimes, one in six pregnant women has been abused by a partner, while a 1998 household survey determined that pregnant women are 60 percent more likely to be beaten than women who are not pregnant. A pregnant woman is also more likely to be a victim of homicide than to die of any other cause. Homicide and other violent crimes are a leading cause of death for women of reproductive age. Notably, criminal investigations from across the nation demonstrate that husbands or boyfriends are often the perpetrators of pregnancy-associated violence and that this violence is often intended to end or jeopardize the pregnancy.

To download a copy of AUL’s model legislation, click here.