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When it comes to a mother's rights, it's fair to say that necessity is the mother of invention.
It's not like every law school teaches it -- maternity, delivery, or reproductive rights. If lawyers want to practice in the area, it's because they feel the need.
The good news is that reproductive law is an emerging practice. That's because justice required it.
"Grave Need" for Lawyers
According to reports, a "shocking number of women" are dying in childbirth. Many mothers do not know their rights in the maternity care system.
Relatively few lawyers understand delivery rights, says Indra Lusero, founder of the Birth Rights Bar Association. She told the ABA Journal that there is a "grave need" for lawyers in the field.
"Currently there is no organization with the capacity to address all of these cases," said Lusero, who is a staff attorney with the National Advocates for Pregnant Women. "We aim to fill that void by giving our members the skills, support and education they need to litigate these cases."
Reproductive rights can be complex; it includes constitutional law, business law, regulatory law, and torts. It can involve issues such as abortion, forced sterilization, medical intervention during childbirth, and other concerns.
The BRBA has members in 20 states, and helps potential clients find attorneys. The organization has filed amicus briefs on reproductive justice in California, Delaware, New York, Virginia and Washington.
Michael Bast, a medical malpractice attorney in New York City, received help from BRBA on behalf of a client who had a cesarean section against her wishes. She suffered a lacerated bladder during the procedure.
He said the association helped with funding, finding experts and raising awareness. Because most plaintiffs' attorneys in reproductive law are solo or small-firm practitioners, he said, they need help.
"The time is now," he told the Journal. "Women want to control their body in choosing their manner of delivery."