To Prosecute, or Not To Prosecute, That is the Question:
Should there be legal consequences for women who use either alcohol or illegal substances while pregnant? This question is still extremely controversial, and due to varied opinions, will continue to be for years to come.
The New Jersey Supreme Court recently reached a unanimous decision that the state may NOT consider a newborn to be abused or neglected based solely on evidence of prenatal drug exposure. There has to be substantial evidence showing that the drugs and or alcohol ingested while pregnant will have lasting effects on the infant and his/ her health in order for there to be a case. This evidence can come in the form of actual physical or mental impairments at birth etc.
According to the article, many states have already prosecuted women who have abused drugs or alcohol during pregnancy. These convictions were mainly overturned because of the fear that it would discourage women, who are pregnant while suffering from substance problems, from seeking out the help they need.
Congress has already responded by authorizing grants, which will be used to set up drug treatment programs targeting pregnant drug/ alcohol users.
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