Lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, entertainment, the arts, and more.
Hosted by Larry Mantle
Airs Weekdays 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Should A Drug-Addicted Mother Be Held Legally Responsible For The Death Of Her Baby?




Should drug-addicted mothers be legally accountable for the deaths of their babies?
Should drug-addicted mothers be legally accountable for the deaths of their babies?
Adene Sanchez/Getty Images

Listen to story

06:20
Download this story 9MB

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.

Guests:

Alex Wigglesworth, staff writer at the Los Angeles Times; she tweets @phila_lex