The Sidney Hillman Foundation announced today that ProPublica reporter Nina Martin and AL.com reporter Amy Yurkanin are the winners of the October Sidney Award for their stories on Alabama’s criminalization of drug use during pregnancy. The monthly honor recognizes “outstanding journalism that fosters social and economic justice.”
In the first story, Take a Valium, Lose Your Kid, Go to Jail, Martin illuminated the severe consequences of Alabama’s “chemical endangerment of a child” statute. Originally intended to protect children from home-based meth labs, the measure’s flexible language has allowed officials to police the womb from the earliest weeks of pregnancy. The statute has turned hundreds of pregnant women into felons, in some cases even when the drugs are legal and the baby is born perfectly healthy.
In the second installment, How Some Alabama Hospitals Quietly Drug Test New Mothers — Without Their Consent, Martin and Yurkanin investigated how, in many cases, hospitals administer drug tests on mothers and babies without informed consent. Read more about the Sidney Award here.