Should drug-addicted mothers be legally accountable for the deaths of their babies? That’s a question that’s been swirling around after a couple recent California cases have come to light, both in Kings County.
One woman is now serving an 11-year prison sentence after county prosecutors there led the prosecution against her, according to a recent L.A. Times piece that digs in to the controversy. The district attorneys there say they’re simply upholding the law. But many legal experts argue California’s murder statute was never intended to be used as a way to criminalize pregnant women in this way, and that it could set a dangerous precedent moving forward. The law defines "murder" as "the unlawful killing of a human being or fetus with malice aforethought." It added the word “fetus” in 1970. Experts say criminalizing women for continuing drug use while they’re pregnant could deter women from seeking help and treatment. Today on AirTalk, we discuss the legal issue.