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 ***** therefore strongly advised pregnant women ***** refrain from using drugs, alcohol and even cigarettes.

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

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

Based on these weaknesses, this paper concludes ***** the state must not prosecute ***** women who engage in substance ***** as crim*****als.

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 ***** was born. When ********** infant was stillborn, an autopsy found drugs present in ***** baby's system. After a subsequent cocaine test where she tested positive, McKnight then admitted to ***** crack while she was pregn*****t. Based on this behavior, McKnight was found guilty ***** murder in the second degree, as her negligent behavior was found to ***** directly caused the death of her daughter (Gearan 2003).

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

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

*****se *****s embody many ***** the arguments ***** mothers who take drugs during ***** pregnancy ***** be treated as criminals. First, there are legal precedents for doing so. South Carolina, ***** example, has a h*****tory of recognizing a vi*****ble fetus as a living per*****n (Jonsson 2001). Therefore, ingesting cocaine, particularly during the third trimester ***** pregnancy, is tantamount to reckless endangerment of a child.

The more important reason, however, is ***** recognized harm that drug abuse can cause to an unborn *****. Proponents of these laws *****fore believe ***** criminalizing drug abuse during ***** will help to scare mothers ***** engaging in r*****ky practices. Prenatal test*****g is a w*****y ***** trying to address the issue for ***** mo*****rs, hoping that they will seek *****.

In cases where the mothers refuse


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