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

Based on *****se weaknesses, this ***** concludes that the state must not prosecute ***** women who engage in substance ***** 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 ***** before her daughter was born. When McKnight's infant was still*****, an autopsy found drugs present in the baby's system. After a subsequent cocaine test where she tested positive, McKnight *****n admitted to using crack while she ***** pregnant. Based on this behavior, ***** was found guilty ***** murder in the second degree, as her negligent behavior w***** ***** to ***** directly caused the death of her daughter (Gearan *****03).

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

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

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

In cases ***** the ***** refuse

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