Essay on Should a Pregnanat Woman Be Punished for Exposing Her Fetus to Risk?

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Should a pregnant woman be punished for exposing her fetus to risk? The question about whether pregnant women are liable for subjecting their unborn children to risk has yet to be properly addressed. One state South Carolina has been on the forefront of this issue. The Supreme Court in South Carolina in 1997 in the case Whitner vs. South Carolina decided that pregnant women who exposed their viable fetuses may be persecuted under the state child abuse laws. This action was specifically targeting women who use illegal drugs during pregnancy. Since this decision, other states like Arizona and Florida are following suit. In South Carolina, the Medical University of South Carolina Hospital routinely tested the urine of pregnant women for …show more content…
For example in 1960, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that a wrongful-death suit could be brought on behalf of an infant who died four hours after delivery due to prenatal injuries. Also, the court upheld murder charges against a man who stab his pregnant wife and in the process killed the fetus in her womb. They believe that consistency is required, and a fetus should be treated as a person under the child abuse laws. When a pregnant woman exposes her viable fetus to risk, she should be punished under child abuse laws. They also pointed out that in the case of drug abuse; it is illegal in the United States. They do not believe that the right to privacy is violated when a person has committed an illegal act already. In concluding, I believe both sides of the debate have strong points in their arguments in support or opposition of punishing pregnant women who put their fetuses at risk. It is important to note that about fifty public health organizations all over the country have spoken against this issue. There is no question that infants are suffering for no good reason and their mothers have done something horribly wrong in exposing their fetuses to harmful substances. But does this mean that persecution of child abuse is warranted? Dr. Mary Ellen Rimsza Chairman of Arizona’s Child fatality review Board said that an effective policy would be one that focuses more on public health and less on public law. She