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


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Pregnant drug abusers

The effects of ***** abuse during pregnancy have long been documented. The use and ***** ***** these substances have been known to ca***** diseases for the unborn children, ranging from co*****ine addiction to severe birth defects. Physicians ***** therefore 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?

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

Based on these weaknesses, this ***** concludes that 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 *****'s infant was still*****, an autopsy found drugs present in ***** ba*****'s system. After a subsequent cocaine test where she tested positive, McKnight then admitted to using crack while she ***** pregnant. Based on this behavior, McKnight was found guilty of murder in the second degree, as her negligent behavior was ***** to have directly caused the death of her daughter (Gearan 2003).

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

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

These examples embody many of the arguments ***** mo*****rs who take drugs during their ***** ***** be treated as criminals. First, there ***** legal precedents for doing so. South *****, for example, has a h*****tory 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, however, is the recognized harm that drug abuse can cause to an unborn *****. Proponents of ***** laws *****fore believe that criminalizing drug ***** during pregn*****cy will help to scare mothers ***** engaging in risky practices. Prenatal test*****g is a way ***** trying to address the issue for ***** mo*****rs, hoping that they will seek *****.

In cases ***** the mo*****rs refuse

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