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Tennessee bill would prosecute illegal-drug using pregnant women if their child is born addicted

Posted at 11:40 AM, Feb 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-11 12:40:37-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A bill introduced in the Tennessee Legislature would prosecute pregnant women for assault if they use illegal drugs and their child is born addicted or harmed from the drug use.

Tennessee House Bill 1168/Senate Bill 0659 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 with assault.

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

If passed into law, it would go into effect on July 1.

Would this bill go far enough to stop the problem?

And would you be in favor of a similar law here in Texas?