Drug use during pregnancy not child abuse: Pennsylvania top court

[Reuters, 12/28/18]  A divided Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled on Friday that mothers who use illegal drugs during their pregnancies are not committing child abuse against their newly-born children.

Reversing a lower court ruling, the 5-2 decision came amid a nationwide opioid crisis, including abuse by pregnant women that can result in preterm labor, stillbirth and withdrawal symptoms for new babies.

The case involved a girl, known as L.J.B., who suffered withdrawal symptoms and was hospitalized for 19 days following her January 2017 birth after her mother, known as A.A.R., used opioids and marijuana during the pregnancy.

In the main opinion, Justice Christine Donohue, joined by two of her colleagues, said Pennsylvania’s Child Protection Services Law defined a child as someone under 18 years old, and the law’s “plain language” excluded a fetus and unborn child from that definition………………..

Read the Full Article at: Rueters

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