Essay - Pregnant Drug Abusers the Effects of Drug Abuse During Pregnancy...

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Pregnant drug abusers

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

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

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

Based on these weaknesses, this paper c*****cludes ***** the state must not prosecute ***** women who engage in substance ***** as crim*****als.

Prenatal protection

Regina McKnight is currently serving 12 ***** 20 years in a South Carol*****a 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 using crack while she was pregn*****t. Based on this behavior, McKnight was found guilty ***** murder in the second degree, as her negligent behavior was ***** to have directly *****d the death of her daughter (Gearan **********).

McKnight's case has generated much criticism, but supporters of her prosecution believe that her trial would help protect ***** children from suffer*****g addiction's after-effects. Many observers of ***** *****, however, ***** that this example would send a stiff warning ***** ot***** subtance abusers, to avoid using narcotics while 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 f***** ***** rights ***** *****etuses, the Medical University of ***** Carolina began to screen ***** patients with for 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 *****ir substance addiction (Jonsson 2001).

These *****s embody many of the arguments ***** mo*****rs who take drugs during their ***** should be treated as criminals. First, there are 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 coc*****ine, ********** during the third trimester of pregnancy, is tantamount to reckless endangerment of a child.

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

In cases ***** the mothers refuse


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