There are legal issues associated with the act of women endangering the lives of the unborn babies. No state has clear laws that criminalize pregnant women using drugs. Most countries therefore apply statutes that prohibit drug abuse or neglect of children. In addition, newborns tested and found positive of drugs can lead to charges of possession to deadly weapon (cocaine or any other harmful drug).
In 1997, the case of Whiner v. South Carolina court in which the court decided that any pregnant woman who risked the life of fetus by using drugs such as cocaine and alcohol was to be arrested (Levine, 2010). The decision was made and many other states like Arizona and Florida adopted the same policies. However the decision of testing women’s urine to confirm whether they are using drugs has led to some ethical issue:
First, women will use a counter attack effect, in which they will avoid doctors and hospitals. No addict woman will go to clinic or even to hospitals for safe delivery. According to Levine (2010), this will pose greater risks to both the mother and the babies. Another issue is trust. The pregnant women can lose trust in their doctors who privately test their urine. Lastly, most addict women will sought for abortion. No woman would want to be arrested for taking drugs; a pregnant woman therefore would rather abort the child at early stages so that she is not arrested after giving birth to the child.
Evidently, there are various moral problems associated with prosecuting mothers exposing their unborn babies to risk. Women will start developing fear of going to the hospital for checkups and delivery. Some women can also drown in drugs more and more just to stop thinking about them being caught and taken to jail (Levine, 2010).
I believe that everyone should be given a chance to change their lifestyle. Pregnant women who put the life of their infants at risk should be taken to rehab. Murphy (1998) suggested that clinics should have education programmes to educate the pregnant women on the impact of the drugs on the mothers’ health and on the fetus. The mothers’ urines should not be tested out of their will; they should be made to understand that it is for their own good.
Every nation should also have clear policies that help addicted mothers instead of punishing them. Currently, no country has its own legal laws directing to how to deal with pregnant mother found taking drugs. They should therefore take this a serious matter and design policies helping instead of punishing the pregnant mothers.
In conclusion, it is important to help a person on drugs instead of taking them to jail. Finding out the reason for starting the act is very important to help getting the women out of the addiction state. Understanding someone with a problem can possible give way to know how to go about the problem.