published Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Tennessee will criminalize moms using drugs while pregnant

NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Haslam has signed into law legislation that would punish pregnant women who abuse narcotics.

Haslam said Tuesday after signing the bill he knows about the concerns opponents have to the measure and will use updates with the courts and health professionals to monitor its impact.

Health organizations and women's rights advocates called on Haslam to veto the bill. The measure would allow women to be charged with assault if they abuse narcotics while pregnant and give birth to a child who is dependent on drugs or harmed as a result.

Haslam said in a statement that a provision in the bill allows it to be reassessed in two years and said it makes the offense a misdemeanor rather than a felony.Gov. Bill Haslam has signed into law legislation that would punish pregnant women who abuse narcotics.

Haslam said Tuesday after signing the bill he knows about the concerns opponents have to the measure and will use updates with the courts and health professionals to monitor its impact.

Health organizations and women's rights advocates called on Haslam to veto the bill. The measure would allow women to be charged with assault if they abuse narcotics while pregnant and give birth to a child who is dependent on drugs or harmed as a result.

Haslam said in a statement that a provision in the bill allows it to be reassessed in two years and said it makes the offense a misdemeanor rather than a felony.

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