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South Carolinas Cruel Intentions Prematurity Low Birth Rate Infections Small Head Size Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Birth Defects and Stunted Growth These are merely a few of the health risks associated with drug abuse for a baby When a pregnant woman uses drugs she and her unborn child face serious health problems During pregnancy the drugs used by the mother can enter the babys bloodstream Some states have taken measures to detect pregnant women who use drugs In particular a South Carolina public hospitals policy is designed to detect pregnant women who use crack-cocaine In South Carolina if a mother uses cocaine while pregnant it will not only cause health risks for her and her unborn child she will also be faced with criminal prosecutions Why does South Carolina feel the need to punish pregnant cocaine users Besides the fact that cocaine is illegal they either want to solely punish the women or detect them in hopes of helping them rehabilitate Research shows that South Carolinas main concerns are criminal prosecution Simon Heller an attorney for a woman who tested positive says that she was arrested right out of the hospital bed still bleeding from having given birth The woman was arrested under the states child endangerment law which targets women who use illegal drugs while pregnant Hellers defense before the court was whether pregnant women have lesser constitutional rights than other Americans The US Supreme Court will determine whether testing pregnant women for drug use is a violation of the US Constitution the ruling is expected sometime in 2001 At the heart of the issue is South Carolinas policy dealing with pregnant drug abusers The court will decide whether the policy violates Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches In its defense South Carolina Attorney General says There is no constitutional right for a pregnant mother to use drugs The unborn child has a constitutional right to protection from its mothers drug abuse
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