PA: Opiate Abuse During Pregnancy Not Child Abuse

Massachusetts Human Trafficking
December 31, 2018 by Robert Franklin, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that, under state law, a mother who abused a variety of addictive drugs during pregnancy did not violate the law prohibiting child abuse, despite her baby being born addicted to opiates (Bucks County, Courier Times, 12/29/18).

The case involves a girl who spent 19 days in Williamsport Hospital last year after she was born, being treated for drug dependence that caused severe withdrawal symptoms. Her mother had relapsed into drug use after getting out of jail, and two weeks before the girl was born in January 2017 the mother tested positive for opiates, marijuana and benzodiazepines, [Justice Christine] Donohue wrote.

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