Bill introduced to address issues of drug addiction during pregnancy, encourage treatment

Ohio representatives introduced a bill this week encouraging drug-addicted pregnant women to seek treatment during pregnancy. HB 325 would enact Maiden's Law, which would prevent children services agencies from filing complaints against pregnant women who test positive for controlled substances if they enroll in a drug treatment program before twenty weeks of pregnancy, are successfully completing the program and are getting appropriate prenatal care as recommended by their healthcare providers. If the woman enrolled in the program after twenty weeks of pregnancy, a court could put a complaint against her on hold until she completes the program and dismiss it once she has.

The bill would also prohibit the use of a positive drug test in a criminal prosecution if the blood test was done to determine pregnancy or provide prenatal care. It would not prevent children services from filing a complaint if the parent was not able to provide adequate care.

WCPO references co-sponsor Rep. Sean O'Brien, who said that the bill is designed to address the high infant mortality rate in Ohio. Doctors are mandatory abuse reporters, and pregnant women addicted to drugs may not participate in appropriate prenatal care for fear of being reported to authorities, according to O'Brien. The article also quoted co-sponsor Doug Green, who stressed that the treatment discussed in the bill would provide an opportunity for mothers to keep their babies once they are born.

The bill has bipartisan support and a large number of co-sponsors.

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