Typically, when think about the dreadful part of reality called “child abuse,” we tend to think of children being beaten, malnourished, or verbally assaulted. Due to the physical aspect of this crime, you would probably assume that prenatal drug exposure would technically be subject to the same laws. After all, isn’t feeding mind-altering, addictive drugs to a developing baby still considered a form of child abuse? According to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the answer is “no.” As surprising as this may sound, these lawmakers have not drawn the connection between child abuse and prenatal drug exposure, despite the harms inflicted on the fetus. So, why is this the case? Why are thy refusing to consider this option? Let’s take a closer look at the situation brewing in the Keystone State.
Not Guilty, Says the Judge
In a ruling last Friday (January 11, 2019), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has declared that women who use harmful drugs during pregnancy are not guilty of the crime of child abuse. In the majority opinion, Judge Christine Donahue revealed that mothers cannot be labeled as a perpetrator for feeding these substances to her unborn child. Simply put, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court stated that current child abuse laws can only apply to actual children, not delicate fetuses developing in the womb. However, the laws dictate child abuse as a crime of physical or verbal violence inflicted on a child 18 years of age or younger.
Protecting Mothers from Harm
Ultimately, Judge Eugene Strassburger added that, if the courts recognized prenatal drug exposure as a form of child abuse, pregnant mothers would be terrified to seek treatment for their drug abuse or addiction (only making the problem worse). Judge Strassburger also mentioned how, if taken out of control, this law could eventually extend to harmless materials like coffee, sushi, or air travel. In essence, sometimes a desire to control can get out of hand.
Meanwhile, some supporters of this notion argue that the damages of prenatal drug abuse only take place after the babies are born (such as neonatal abstinence syndrome).
Seeking Treatment for Drug Abuse and Addiction
Always remember that drugs can never have control of your life unless you let them. Only you have the power to take the first steps toward creating a better future. The time to take back control is now.
Are you suffering from a severe case of drug abuse or addiction? Do you have a friend or family member who is coping with this dreadful illness? No matter the case, get in touch with Asana Recovery today to speak with our team of counselors and healthcare experts. We are ready to walk you through every step of the detox and withdrawal process and rehabilitation and guide you towards living a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle.
If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your drug addiction or abuse.