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 ***** there*****e strongly advised pregnant women to refrain from using drugs, alcohol and even cigarettes.

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

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

Based on these weaknesses, this paper c*****cludes ***** the state must not prosecute ***** women who engage in substance abuse 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 daughter was born. When McKnight's infant was still*****, an autopsy found drugs present in the baby's system. After a subsequent ***** test where she tested positive, McKnight then admitted to using crack while she ***** pregnant. Based on this behavior, ***** was ***** guilty of murder in the second degree, as her negligent behavior was found to ***** directly caused the death ***** her daughter (Gearan 2003).

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

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

These ********** embody many of the arguments ***** mo*****rs who take drugs during ***** pregnancy should be treated as *****. First, there ***** legal precedents for doing so. South *****, ***** example, has a history of recognizing a vi*****ble 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 *****. Proponents of ***** ***** therefore believe that criminalizing drug ***** during pregn*****cy will help to scare mothers ***** engaging in risky practices. Prenatal testing is a w*****y ***** trying to address the issue for pregnant mo*****rs, hoping that they will seek treatment.

In cases ***** the mothers refuse

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