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 ab***** of 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 ***** refrain from using drugs, alcohol and even cigarettes.

But what should be done *****out pregnant ***** who ignore such warnings?

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

Based on these weaknesses, this ***** concludes that 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 ********** infant was stillborn, an autopsy found drugs present in the baby's system. After a subsequent ***** test where she tested positive, McKnight *****n admitted to ***** crack while she was pregn*****t. Based on this behavior, ***** ***** found guilty of murder in the second degree, as her negligent behavior was found to ***** directly caused the death of her daughter (Gearan *****03).

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

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

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

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

In cases where the mothers refuse


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