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Pregnant, Addicted, and at Risk For Incarceration in SC

Pregnant and high, 37-year-old Sandria Doremus entered a treatment facility in Greenville, SC, with the hopes that she could get off drugs and properly care for her baby. Her other motivation? She wanted to avoid being incarcerated after she gave birth.

It could easily have happened to her. A hospital reported her drug use to the police — as required by law.

Although this practice has abated, since 1989, at least 126 women in South Carolina have been arrested and charged with harming their fetuses by abusing drug and alcohol, according to the National Advocates For Pregnant Women. Only about 80 pregnant women around the country were arrested on similar charges in the same time period. Although local and state agencies across the country have attempted to prosecute pregnant women for drug use, their cases are usually rejected by the courts.

Although many women say that they're glad they had a chance to clean up and be sober mothers, some women admit that their fear of being arrested kept them from getting treatment earlier.

"These are addicts who become pregnant," says Lynn Paltrow, executive director of the National Advocates For Pregnant Women. "They aren't women who chose to use drugs after becoming pregnant."

What do you think about criminalizing addicted women who get pregnant?

Image Source: Getty
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