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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

The media portray the pregnant drug user as a betrayer whose interests are diametrically opposed to those of her fetus and who will harm her fetus unless stopped by the state. In her Article Professor Oberman restructures the stories of pregnant addicts, describing some of the contextual factors that shape their lives and looking at issues such as why women users get pregnant and how they can be persuaded to curtail drug use during and after pregnancy. The Article then focuses on the application of child abuse and neglect laws to pregnant drug users, and demonstrates how these laws violate the Fourteenth Amendment and worsen, rather than remedy, the problems surrounding perinatal drug use. Professor Oberman concludes that the problem of perinatal drug use should be addressed by encouraging women to seek treatment, rather than by threatening them with coercive, ineffective, and unconstitutional policies.

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