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 abuse of these substances have been known to cause diseases for the unborn children, ranging from cocaine addiction to severe birth defects. Physicians have 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?

***** 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 such legisl*****ion ***** the arguments of ***** 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 ***** c*****cludes that the state must not prosecute pregnant women who engage in substance ***** as criminals.

Prenatal protection

Regina McKnight is currently serving 12 to 20 years in a South Carolina prison for the murder ***** her daughter.

This homicide, however, happened ***** before her ***** was born. When ********** 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 was *****. Based on this behavior, McKnight was found guilty of murder in the second degree, as her negligent behavior was ***** to have directly *****d the death ***** her daughter (Gear***** 2003).

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

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

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

The more important reason, however, is the recognized harm ***** drug abuse can cause to an unborn child. Proponents ***** ***** ***** *****fore believe that criminalizing drug abuse during pregn*****cy will help to scare mothers ***** engaging in risky practices. Prenatal test*****g is a way of trying to address the issue for pregnant mothers, hoping that they will seek *****.

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


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