Tennessee bill would charge women who use drugs during pregnancy with assault

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTHR) — A bill in Tennessee aims to prosecute pregnant women who use illegal drugs during pregnancy.

The bill specifically looks to charge pregnant women for assault if their drug use harms the child.

House Bill 1168 was filed last week by Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster) and Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma).

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The bill states if a woman uses an illegal narcotic drug while pregnant and if the child is born addicted to or harmed by the drug that woman can be charged.

If the woman is actively enrolled in an addiction recovery program before the child is born and remains in the program after delivery, and successfully completes the program then the charges would be made less severe.

If passed, the law would go into effect July 1, 2019.