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 abuse ***** 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 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 ***** 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 laws ***** misguided and counterproductive.

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

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 daughter was born. When McKnight's infant was still*****, an autopsy found drugs present in the ba*****'s system. After a subsequent ***** test where she tested positive, McKnight then *****dmitted to ***** crack while she was pregnant. Based on this behavior, McKnight was found guilty ***** murder in the second degree, as her negligent behavior w***** found to ***** directly *****d the death of her ***** (Gearan *****03).

*****'s case has generated much criticism, but supporters of her prosecution believe that ***** trial *****ould help protect unborn children from suffering addiction's after-effects. Many observers of this *****, however, ***** that this example would send a stiff warning ***** o*****r subtance abusers, to avoid using narcotics ***** 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***** ***** rights ***** **********, the Medical University of South Carolina began to screen ***** patients with for cocaine use. Women ***** ***** positive were then turned over to the police. ***** these cases, the threat of prosecution convinced many pregnant women ***** seek treatment for their substance addiction (Jonsson 2001).

*****se examples embody many of the arguments ***** ***** who take drugs during ***** pregnancy ***** be treated as criminals. First, ********** are legal precedents for doing so. South Carolina, for example, has a history of recognizing ***** viable fetus as a living per*****n (Jonsson *****). Therefore, ingesting coc*****ine, particularly during the third trimester ***** pregnancy, is tantamount to reckless endangerment of a child.

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

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

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