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Bogus Child Abuse Charges for Pregnant, Drug-Using Women (Hard Times USA)

A woman who uses drugs can be punished just for the assumption that using drugs has harmed her fetus.

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Drug-Using Women Not the Only Ones at Risk

Stil, this is not just about pregnant women who use drugs. A 1997 ruling in South Carolina made the state the first to issue a ruling defining fetuses as legally protected children. The court found that child endangerment can apply to a fetus, “allowing for other possible applications of the law,” said Lynn Paltrow, of National Advocates for Pregnant Woman. She gives as examples pregnant women who attempt suicide or opt out of cesarian surgery. “All of these cases, whether civil or criminal, are ultimately about whether the court is using judicial authority -- surveillance, control -- to punish pregnant women.”


Kristen Gwynne is an associate editor and drug policy reporter at AlterNet.  Follow her on Twitter: @KristenGwynne

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