Essay - Pregnant Drug Abusers the Effects of Drug Abuse During Pregnancy...


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Pregnant drug abusers

***** effects of drug abuse during pregnancy have long been documented. The use and abuse of these substances have been known to cause diseases for the unborn children, ranging from cocaine addiction to severe birth defects. Physicians have there*****e strongly advised pregnant women to refrain from using drugs, alcohol and even cigarettes.

But what should be done about pregnant women who ignore such warnings?

***** paper examines various fetal rights instruments, proposed laws that are supposed to protect unborn children by criminalizing mothers who abuse ***** and drugs. The first part looks at examples of ***** legislation ***** the arguments ***** the proponents. In the second *****, this paper argues that while such efforts have noble intents, these fetal rights ***** ***** misguided and counterproductive.

Based on these weaknesses, this ***** c*****cludes ***** the state must not prosecute pregnant women who engage in substance ***** as criminals.

Prenatal protection

Regina McKnight is currently serving 12 ***** 20 years in a South Carol*****a prison for the murder of her daughter.

This homicide, however, happened ***** before her daughter was born. When McKnight's infant was still*****, an autopsy found drugs present in the baby's system. After a subsequent ***** test where she tested positive, McKnight then *****dmitted to ***** crack while she was pregnant. Based on this behavior, ***** ***** ***** guilty of murder in the second degree, as her negligent behavior w***** found to have directly *****d the death ***** her daughter (Gearan 2003).

***** case has generated much criticism, but supporters of her prosecution believe that her trial would help protect unborn children from suffering addiction's after-effects. Many observers of ***** *****, however, ***** that this example ***** send a stiff warning to ot***** subtance abusers, to avoid using narcotics ***** they are pregnant or to avoid getting pregnant altogether (Gearan *****).

Cruz's case is far from new. In the late 1980s, the heyday of concern f***** the rights ***** *****etuses, the Medical University of South Carolina began to screen pregnant patients with for cocaine use. Women ***** ***** positive were then turned over ***** the police. In these cases, the threat ***** prosecution convinced many ***** women to seek treatment for their substance addiction (Jonsson 2001).

*****se ********** embody many of the arguments ***** mo*****rs who take drugs during ***** pregnancy ***** be treated as *****. First, there ***** legal precedents for doing so. South Carolina, for example, has a history of recognizing a vi*****ble fetus as a living person (Jonsson *****). Therefore, ingesting *****, particularly during the third trimester of pregnancy, is tantamount to reckless endangerment of a child.

The more important reason, *****, is the recognized harm that drug abuse can cause to an unborn child. Proponents of ***** laws *****fore believe that criminalizing drug ***** during ***** will help to scare mothers from engaging in risky practices. Prenatal testing is a way of trying to address the issue for pregnant mothers, hoping that they will seek treatment.

In cases ***** the mothers refuse

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