Substance Abuse in Pregnant Women Essay

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“Crack-babies” a media induced phenomena brought about by the climax of public outcry from the results of the 1980’s war on drugs. This term laid the foundation for biased prosecutions which sparked a political crusade during climate of the time. Thus exploiting the public’s fear of children born to substance addicted mother and creating a firestorm of litigation to prosecute pregnant drug addicts. According to Flavin, Paltrow (2010), current evidence points to public stigmas and prejudice as posing a greater danger to both maternal and fetal health than use of the drug itself. Leaving the question as to why addicted women are still publicly reviled for the outcomes of their circumstances. From this abhorrence stems the likelihood that …show more content…
The rationality of those who support the punishment of addicted mothers focus on the idea that maternal conduct could lead to potential detrimental effects upon the fetus and that prosecution of such behavior would serve as both retribution for the fetus and as a deterrent. Whereas those who advocate for the pregnant women view this rational as not only impermissible but also unconstitutional as in current legal standing the fetus has no rights that usurp those of the pregnant woman (Stone-Manista, 2009, pp.823-856). Advocates also suggests that the breadth of forces that lead to drug use in pregnant women have a prevalent cultural and social foundation that the proponents for deterrence and retribution ignore in favor of strict scrutiny. This conflict between women’s rights and fetal rights has caused a paradigm in the prosecution of pregnant drug users as the interpretation of criminal sanctions argues over the definition of ‘child’ as encompassing fetuses in the definition would then lay the foundation for punishment for a woman’s conduct during pregnancy (Stone-Magnets, 2009, pp.823-856). Though currently it is unconstitutional and legally impermissible to prosecute women with state child abuse statutes in regards to drug use during pregnancy; advocates of fetal rights continue to follow
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