Tennessee bills would charge pregnant women who do drugs if baby is born addicted

NASHVILLE (WSVN) — Two Tennessee lawmakers are filing joint bills that would charge pregnant women with assault if they use illegal drugs and the child is born addicted to drugs or harmed by the drugs.

The two bills, HB 1168 and SB 0659, were filed by Tennessee state Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver and state Sen. Janice Bowling.

The bills authorize “prosecution of a woman for assault based on the woman’s illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant 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 use of a narcotic drug while pregnant.”

The bills does state a defense, saying that the mother can avoid prosecution if she enrolls in an addiction program while pregnant and successfully completes the program.

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

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