This article will proceed in four parts. Part I will elucidate the current myopic focus on mothers as the source of risk to children’s health and contrast common perceptions about the health of America’s children to reality. Part II will discuss how and why this distortion has arisen, exploring the social science research on risk perception. Part III will examine the history, and nature of, American law, and demonstrate how that law both reflects and reinforces existing sociocultural norms. Part IV will comment on the implications of Parts II and III and suggest how the risks to children’s health should be reframed in order to develop more effective measures to minimize harm to children.
Linda C. Fentiman, Are Mothers Hazardous to Their Children’s Health?: Law, Culture, and the Framing of Risk, 21 Va. J. Soc. Pol’y & L. (forthcoming 2014). Available at http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/898/.