Document Type



This article will expand upon the feminist critique by focusing on children's health as well as the health and liberty interests of their mothers. In the first part of this article, I examine the legal and cultural underpinnings of “fetal protection” and explore its current manifestations. In the second part, I place “fetal protection” in a broader context, documenting the ways in which American law currently promotes fetal life, while simultaneously neglecting the lives and health of born children. The third part of the article offers concrete recommendations about how government, both state and federal, can actually achieve the goal of bringing healthy children into the world and enabling them to live healthy lives, paying particular attention to the problems of children who are born into domestic violence and/or poverty and are therefore at high risk for poor educational and health care outcomes. If we are to truly become a society in which “no child [is] left behind,” we must implement a comprehensive public health strategy to promote women's and children's health across the lifespan, not just during the few months in which women are pregnant.