Drug-using moms charged by prosecutors who don't know law changed

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Some state prosecutors pursued criminal charges against women for taking illegal drugs during their pregnancies because they were unaware that a state law changed last year that prevented such charges.

The Tennessean reports that some women ended up in jail and others had charges dismissed against them after prosecutors realized they no longer had the authority to charge women with assault or reckless endangerment against their unborn children.

Tennessee law changed on July 1, 2012. Supporters of the law change said those types of charges could lead to a slippery slope in which women could be charged for their conduct during pregnancy, such as disobeying a doctor's recommendation.

But drug-addicted births have increased in Tennessee to 672 in 2011, according to state health officials.


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