Senator’s Bill Would Extend Child Abuse Protections To Unborn Children

A local lawmaker is moving forward with a plan that would make pregnant women who knowingly and willingly use illegal drugs accountable for the damage that does to unborn children.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled on Dec. 28 that mothers who use illegal drugs while pregnant cannot be charged with abuse of their newly born children under the state’s child protection law. Essentially, the court ruled that Pennsylvania’s Child Protective Services Law (CPSL) does not recognize fetuses as children, according to White.

“This ruling is truly disturbing and I believe it will have grave consequences,” Senator White said. “I will soon introduce legislation to address that ruling.  My legislation will be designed to specifically address situations where a pregnant woman knowingly and willfully takes illegal drugs.”

“My bill will close the loophole in the law that was stressed by the Supreme Court,” said Senator White. “A pregnant woman puts the life and wellbeing of her unborn child on the line when she knowingly and intentionally uses illegal drugs. This is not just about accountability, but ultimately about the protection and welfare of the child. Regardless of what the Court may rule, a mother’s responsibility begins before her child is born and that should not be erased by a perceived ambiguity in the law.”

White represents Pennsylvania’s 41st District, which includes most of eastern Butler County as well as Armstrong, Indiana, and parts of Westmoreland counties.


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