First Woman Charged Under Tennessee’s New Law Criminalizing Pregnant Women Who Use Drugs.
The law is the first of its kind in the country.
The new law allows prosecutors to file child endangerment charges against pregnant women who use drugs: “a woman may be prosecuted for assault for the illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant.” However, the prosecutor is not required prove any medical harm to the woman’s newborn baby.
A 26-year-old Monroe County woman is being prosecuted for assault on her fetus for using methamphetamine shortly before she gave birth.
“This dangerous law unconstitutionally singles out new mothers struggling with addiction for criminal assault charges,” said Thomas Castelli, Tennessee ACLU legal director. “By focusing on punishing women rather than promoting healthy pregnancies, the state is only deterring women struggling with alcohol or drug dependency from seeking the pre-natal care they need.
ACLU is going to challenge this law and encourages any woman concerned about the impact this law will have on her to contact us.
For further information:
Tennessee ACLU Seeking to Challenge New Law Criminalizing Pregnant Women Who Use Drugs.