Tennessee bill would charge women who use narcotics while pregnant

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NASHVILLE, Tn. (WDBJ7) -- Tennessee lawmakers are looking to punish women who use narcotic drugs during pregnancy if the baby becomes addicted to those drugs.

According to HB1168, women who use narcotics during their pregnancy could face prosecution if their baby is harmed or born with an addiction.

"Notwithstanding subdivision (c)(1), nothing in this section shall preclude prosecution of a woman for assault under §39-13-101 based on the woman's illegal use of a narcotic drug, as defined in Section 39-17-402, while pregnant, if the woman's child is born addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug and the addiction or harm is a result of the woman's illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant," the bill reads.

Reports say a similar law went into effect in 2014 but at the time, lawmakers included a sunset clause that allowed it to expire after two years.

If passed, the law will take effect on July 1, 2019.

Read the entire bill here.