Tennessee Arrests First Mother Under Its New Pregnancy Criminalization Law


Image: thinkprogress.org/shutterstock
At the beginning of July, 26-year-old Mallory Loyola gave birth to a baby girl. Two days later, the state of Tennessee charged her with assault. Loyola is the first woman to be arrested under a new law in Tennessee that allows the state to criminally charge mothers for potentially causing harm to their fetuses by using drugs.

By Tara Culp-ResslerTHINKPROGRESS

The legislation, which officially took effect about a week ago, stipulates that “a woman may be prosecuted for assault for the illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant, if her child is born addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug.” However, this may not actually apply to Loyola’s case. So far, there’s no evidence the young woman either used a narcotic drug or caused harm to her newborn child.

According to local news reports, Loyola tested positive for methamphetamine and admitted that she smoked that drug several days before giving birth. Meth is not considered to be a narcotic, which is a legal class of drugs that refers to opiates like heroin and prescription painkillers. Tennessee’s new law was passed specifically in response to fears about babies being exposed to opiates in utero, something that can lead to “Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.”

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1 Comment

  1. >>However, there’s no scientific evidence that being exposed to illegal drugs in the womb actually causes long-lasting health issues in young children. In fact, studies have found that exposing fetuses to cocaine, meth, and opiates is about as harmful as exposing them to cigarettes.<<

    Was denn nun? Keine "long-lasting health issues" oder "about as harmful as exposing them to cigarettes"? Ach so, der dahinterliegende Link behauptet wohl, Zigaretten seien harmlos … ich dachte die Geburtsschäden durch rauchende Schwangere würden nur noch Tabaklobbyisten bestreiten? Merkwürdig.

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