brittney poolaw

How an Oklahoma Women's Miscarriage Put a Spotlight on Racial Disparities in Prosecutions

“No one could say that anything she did or didn’t do was the cause of that miscarriage,” one advocate said

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When Brittney Poolaw was in an Oklahoma hospital last year having a miscarriage, she admitted to using methamphetamine during her pregnancy. 

Now, Poolaw, who was 19 at the time of her miscarriage, is in prison, sentenced to four years in October for manslaughter in the death of her fetus. 

Some advocates and medical professionals believe the verdict is a mistake, warning that the rising trend of women being prosecuted for actions during pregnancy is often based on faulty science and disproportionately affects low-income women and women of color.

Lynn Paltrow, the founder and executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, which is working to fight Poolaw’s case, said no person can guarantee a healthy birth.

“No one could say that anything she did or didn’t do was the cause of that miscarriage,” Paltrow said. “And yet the prosecutor proceeded, the judge allowed it to go on and the jury — within a very few number of hours — convicted her.”

Read the full story on NBCNews.com.

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