HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/KDKA) – Pennsylvania’s highest court will determine whether a woman’s use of illegal drugs while pregnant qualifies as child abuse under state law.
The Supreme Court has taken up the case of a woman who tested positive for suboxone and marijuana at the time she gave birth early last year at Williamsport Hospital.
A county judge ruled that didn’t qualify as child abuse under the state’s Child Protective Services Law, but the intermediate Superior Court said drug use while pregnant can make bodily injury likely for a child after birth.
Court records indicate the child spent 19 days in the hospital being treated for drug dependence withdrawal.
The mother’s lawyers argue lawmakers never intended the child protection law to apply to acts during pregnancy.
Last year, a Butler County judge tossed out a felony assault charge against 30-year-old Kasey Dischman, who overdosed on heroin while seven months pregnant.
She had to have an emergency C-section and gave birth to a premature girl, who may suffer lasting injuries.
Dischman was initially charged with aggravated assault on an unborn child, but the judge later ruled state law protects pregnant women from such charges.
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