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 ***** ***** these substances have been known to ca***** diseases for the unborn children, ranging from cocaine addiction to severe birth defects. Physicians ***** 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 ***** children by criminalizing mothers ***** abuse alcohol and drugs. The first part looks at examples of such legislation ***** the arguments ***** ***** proponents. In the second *****, this paper argues that while such efforts have noble intents, ***** ***** rights ***** ***** misguided and counterproductive.

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

Prenatal protection

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

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

McKnight's case has generated much criticism, but supporters of her prosecution believe that her trial *****ould help protect unborn children from suffering addiction's after-effects. Many observers of ***** case, however, believe that this example would send a stiff warning to o*****r subtance abusers, ***** avoid using narcotics while they are pregnant or to avoid getting pregnant altogether (Gearan 2003).

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

*****se ********** embody many of the arguments ***** mo*****rs who take drugs during their ***** ***** be treated as criminals. First, there are legal precedents for doing so. South *****, ***** example, has a h**********ry of recognizing a viable fetus as a living person (Jonsson *****). Therefore, ingesting *****, p*****rticularly during the third trimester of pregnancy, is tantamount to reckless endangerment of a child.

The more important reason, *****, is ***** recognized harm that drug abuse can cause to an unborn child. Proponents ***** these laws therefore believe that criminalizing drug abuse during pregn*****cy will help to scare mothers ***** engaging in risky practices. Prenatal test*****g is a w*****y of trying to address the issue for ***** mothers, hoping that they will seek treatment.

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

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