Tennessee bill would charge pregnant women using drugs if baby born addicted

Cropped Photo: Wolfgang Moroder / CC BY-SA 3.0 via MGN

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--A Tennessee bill looks to prosecute pregnant women for assault if they use illegal drugs and the child is born addicted or harmed from the drug use.

HB1168/SB0659 was filed last week by Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster) and Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma).

The bill states if a woman uses an illegal narcotic drug while pregnant and if the child is born addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug and the addiction or harm is a result of the woman's illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant, that woman can be charged.

The bill goes on to state a defense from prosecution will be allowed if the woman is actively enrolled in an addiction recovery program before the child is born, if she remained in the program after delivery, and successfully completes the program -regardless if the child was born addicted or not.

If passed, the law would go into effect July 1, 2019.

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