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 cocaine addiction to severe birth defects. Physicians have there*****e strongly advised pregnant women ***** refrain from using drugs, alcohol and even cigarettes.

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

This 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 such legisl*****ion ***** 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 abuse as crim*****als.

Prenatal protection

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

This homicide, however, happened even before her ***** was born. When McKnight's infant was still*****, an autopsy found drugs present in ***** baby's system. After a subsequent ***** test where she tested positive, McKnight then *****dmitted to using crack while she ***** pregnant. Based on this behavior, McKnight was found guilty of murder in the second degree, as her negligent behavior w***** ***** to have directly caused the death ***** her daughter (Gearan 2003).

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

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

These *****s embody many of the arguments ***** ***** who take drugs during *****ir pregnancy should be treated as criminals. First, there ***** legal precedents for doing so. South Carolina, for example, has a history of recognizing ***** viable fetus as a living person (Jonsson *****). Therefore, ingesting *****, particularly 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 of ***** laws therefore believe that criminalizing drug ***** during ***** will help to scare mothers from engaging in r*****ky practices. Prenatal testing is a w*****y ***** trying to address the issue for pregn*****t mo*****rs, hoping that they will seek treatment.

In cases ***** the mothers refuse

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