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


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Pregnant drug abusers

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

***** 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 alcohol and drugs. The first part looks at examples of ***** legislation ***** the arguments of ***** proponents. In the second part, this paper argues that while such efforts have noble intents, ***** fetal rights ***** ***** misguided and counterproductive.

Based on these weaknesses, this ***** c*****cludes that the state must not prosecute ***** women who engage in substance abuse as crim*****als.

Prenatal protection

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

This homicide, however, happened ***** before her ***** was born. When *****'s 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 using crack while she ***** pregn*****t. Based on this behavior, ***** was found guilty of murder in the second degree, as her negligent behavior w***** ***** to ***** directly *****d the death ***** her daughter (Gearan 2003).

McKnight's case has generated much criticism, but supporters of her prosecution believe ***** her trial would help protect unborn children from suffer*****g addiction's after-effects. Many observers of ***** *****, however, believe that this example would send a stiff warning ***** ot***** 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 f***** the rights ***** 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 to seek treatment for their substance addiction (Jonsson 2001).

These examples embody many ***** the arguments that mo*****rs who take drugs during their pregnancy should be treated as criminals. First, there ***** legal precedents for doing so. South *****, for example, has a h**********ry of recognizing a vi*****ble fetus as a living person (Jonsson 2001). Therefore, ingesting coc*****ine, *****icularly during the third trimester ***** pregnancy, is tantamount to reckless endangerment of a child.

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

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

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