NASHVILLE, TN (WDBJ/Gray News) - Tennessee lawmakers are looking to punish women who use narcotic drugs during pregnancy if the baby becomes addicted to those drugs.
According to HB1168, women who use narcotics during their pregnancy could face prosecution if their baby is harmed or born with an addiction.
“Notwithstanding subdivision (c)(1), nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution of a woman for assault under §39-13-101 based on the woman’s illegal use of a narcotic drug, as defined in Section 39-17-402, while pregnant, if the woman’s child is born addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug and the addiction or harm is a result of the woman’s illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant,” the bill reads.
The bill includes a provision protecting women whose children are born with an addiction from prosecution if they “actively enrolled in an addiction recovery program before the child is born, remained in the program after delivery, and successfully completed the program."
If passed, the new law will take effect on July 1, 2019.
A version of the bill introduced to the state Senate, SB0659, has already advanced to the Senate Judiciary Committee.