Representative Garcia legislation protects fetus expectant mothers

first_img Categories: Garcia News,News 28Aug Representative Garcia legislation protects fetus, expectant mothers State Representative Daniela Garcia has introduced legislation that will add fetuses under current state child abuse law.The bill closes a legal loophole, stated during a recent state Court of Appeals decision, that determined the use of narcotics such as amphetamines and methamphetamine while pregnant was not a crime.“It is unconscionable to think that expectant mothers can abuse drugs during the pregnancy and not be held accountable for the damage done to the unborn child,” said Representative Garcia, of Holland. “We are seeing a rise of opioid abuse in Michigan and we will see a similar increase of children with severe health issues related to using controlled substances during the pregnancy.”Garcia’s legislation provides affirmative defenses to expectant mothers, allowing them to avoid prosecution if the woman enrolls in an addiction recovery program before giving birth and completes it after the birth of the child. A second defense would include completing a court-ordered drug treatment program.House Bill 4877 has been assigned to the House Law and Justice Committee.“My ultimate goal is to help these women who are addicted to controlled substances, which will help the babies they are carrying,” Garcia said. “We have to protect all children from abuse, regardless of age or the type of abuse, and that includes working with the expectant mothers.”The legislation was inspired by an Ottawa County law enforcement official expressing frustration to Garcia because of limited options when a mother takes a controlled substance which harms or kills the fetus. The bill increases flexibility for law enforcement to decide on charges involving drugs and unborn children.###last_img

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