New moms in Tennessee would be charged if their baby was harmed by drug use during pregnancy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A recently proposed bill in Tennessee seeks to charge new mothers with assault if their baby is born addicted or harmed from drug use during pregnancy, WZTV reports.

HB1168/SB0659 was filed last week by Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster) and Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma).

According to the language used in the bill, 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 it’s a result of the woman’s illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant, that woman can be charged.

The bill also says defense from prosecution is allowed if the woman actively enrolls in an addiction recovery program before the child is born, remains in the program after delivery, and successfully completes the program, regardless of whether the child was born addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug.

If it passes, the law would go into effect July 1, 2019.

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