Tennessee bill would impose assault charges if baby’s born addicted after mom uses drugs

State Sen. Janice Bowling (left) and State Rep. Terri Weaver (right) have proposed a bill that would charge women who use drugs during their pregnancy with assault if the child is harmed or born addicted to drugs. (AP/ US Army/Michael Rivera)

Tennessee lawmakers have proposed a bill that would charge women who use drugs during their pregnancy with assault if the child is harmed or born addicted to drugs.

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The bill, backed by State Rep. Terri Weaver, R-Lancaster, and State Sen. Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma, would allow prosecutors to charge women who use illegal narcotics during pregnancy and harm the child as a result, Fox 17 reported.

Lawmakers included a provision that would allow someone to avoid prosecution if she is enrolled in a recovery program before birth and completes the program afterward, regardless of the child’s state.

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A similar bill was passed in Tennessee in 2014 on a trial basis, allowing a defense if women went on treatment after the child was born, WREG reported.

If passed, the bill will take effect July 1.

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