Illegally using drugs during pregnancy could lead to jail time for mothers
By Kim Swindell Wood | March 31, 2014 11:36 am
Last Updated: March 31, 2014 at 11:37 am
State legislators have discussed a bill this week that would have pregnant women who illegally use narcotic drugs during pregnancy that results in harm to the unborn child prosecuted for assault or criminal homicide.
Under present law, a human embryo or fetus at any stage of gestation may be considered a victim of assault or criminal homicide, however this present law does not apply for any act by a pregnant woman.
Under this bill, a woman can be prosecuted if she illegally uses narcotic drugs while pregnant if the use of these drugs harms the victim, or results in the victim becoming dependent or addicted to the drug as a result of the mother’s illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant.
Women will not be prosecuted for a lawful act with respect to an embryo or fetus.
A pregnant woman who is actively enrolled in a long-term addiction recovery program before the child is born, remained in the program after delivery and successfully completes the program will be able to use the enrollment in such a program as an affirmative defense and may be eligible for judicial diversion, drug court or both.
On March the bill was recommended for passage by the House and will be discussed by the Senate on April 1.