Wednesday, July 16, 2014

First Tennessee Woman Charged on Controversial New Drug Law

Time Magazine reported two days ago that 26-year-old Mallory Loyola was arrested on July 8th and charged with misdemeanor assault after she and her newborn baby tested positive for meth. Monroe County Sheriff Bill Bivens told a local news station in Knoxville, Tenn., that Loyola admitted to smoking meth days before the birth of her child. 

This controversial new law went into effect earlier this month.  The law allows mothers to be "prosecuted for assault for the illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant" if the child is harmed by, or becomes addicted to the drug in question. 

The new law punishes women who have a drug problem instead of helping them through it. Pregnancy is a hard time in a woman's life but making them feel like criminals will not help the drug problem in America.  

Jessica Valenti, a writer for The Guardian posted a response article to this new law about women being treated as potential criminals.  

"A world in which all women who can get pregnant are considered "pre-pregnant" – and in which the state has more of a vested interest in protecting any embryo or fetus at any stage of development than the woman herself – is the stuff of nightmares, and a frightening future that's already upon us.
But a pregnant woman is still a person under the law, with the right to make decisions – even poor ones – about her own body. Instead of living in some Margaret Atwood-style dystopian world where we regulate, monitor and punish vulnerable pregnant women, let's instead make sure that those who need help, get it – and not from inside a jail cell."

 What do you think about this new law? Do you think women should be prosecuted or helped if they have a drug problem while pregnant? 

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