Proposed law would punish moms who take drugs while pregnant


MGN Online

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) It's been debated for years in Tennessee, should moms who take drugs while pregnant be charged?

Lawmakers are working on a bill that would make it a misdemeanor crime, but not everyone's on board.

"While nobody wants to see a mom behind bars, we need to help them see the seriousness behind the offense and help them get the help they need," said Representative Roger Kane, a cosponsor of the bill.

Many child advocates and medical professionals oppose laws that would prosecute moms out of fear they would fail to seek prenatal care.

During a visit to East Tennessee Children's Hospital, neonatal nurse practitioner Carla Saunders said, "We all rallied around seat belts and trying to help prevent deaths and increase health care costs for people not wearing seat belts, and now it's time to rally around prescription drug abuse," suggesting a proactive approach.

The law has passed the Tennessee House. It now sits in the Senate where it will need approval to reach the Governor's desk.

If passed, the law would go into effect July 1st, 2016.

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