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 ab***** of 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.

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

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

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

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 daughter was born. When ********** infant was stillborn, an autopsy found drugs present in ***** ba*****'s system. After a subsequent ***** test where she tested positive, McKnight then admitted to using crack while she was *****. Based on this behavior, ***** was ***** 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 ***** her prosecution believe that her trial would help protect unborn children from suffering addiction's after-effects. Many observers of this case, however, ***** that ***** example ***** send a stiff warning ***** other subtance abusers, to avoid ***** narcotics while they are pregnant or ***** avoid getting pregnant altogether (Gearan 2003).

Cruz's case is far from new. In the late 1980s, the heyday of concern for the rights ***** fetuses, the Medical University of South Carolina began to screen ***** patients with ***** cocaine use. Women who 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).

*****se examples embody many ***** the arguments ***** ***** who take drugs during their ***** ***** be treated as criminals. First, there are legal precedents for doing so. South Carolina, ***** example, has a h*****tory of recognizing a viable fetus as a living per*****n (Jonsson 2001). 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 *****fore believe ***** criminalizing drug abuse during pregn*****cy will help to scare mothers from engaging in risky practices. Prenatal testing is a way of trying to address the issue for pregnant mothers, hoping that they will seek *****.

In cases where the ***** refuse

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