A woman’s decision to take drugs while pregnant can constitute child abuse if it causes bodily injury to the infant after birth, a state appellate court has ruled, addressing a first impression issue.
A three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled Wednesday that a woman who tested positive for marijuana and opiates after giving birth could be found to have committed child abuse if the child suffered harm as a result of the drug use. The ruling reversed a decision by the Clinton County Juvenile Division, which said the Child Protective Services Law does not allow a mother’s action to be considered child abuse if they were undertaken while the child was a fetus.
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