Tennessee Lawmaker Files Bill to Protect Unborn Children from Drug Exposure

Tennessee Representative Bruce Griffey (R-Paris) has filed legislation that he said would, if enacted into law, repair a legal loophole with how the state treats unborn versus born babies who are exposed to drugs.

Griffey said in a statement that this loophole in Tennessee law fails to protect unborn children from drug exposure in utero.

“In fact, if a mother takes a newborn home from the hospital and just days after delivery prepares a bottle for the baby as she is using methamphetamine, the mother could be charged with child abuse, neglect or endangerment if the newborn tests positive for methamphetamine,” Griffey said.

“However, the same mother could use methamphetamine throughout her pregnancy, forcing the methamphetamine into the same innocent child, and causing the child to be born with meth in its system and addicted from birth, and there is no law in Tennessee that allows the mother to be prosecuted.”

Griffey introduced the bill, HB 2314, this month. Senator Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) is sponsoring companion legislation in the senate.

Griffey, quoting research studies, said in his statement that a myriad of consequences can result from prenatal drug exposure, including, but not limited to, premature birth, low birth weight, withdrawal tremors as well as balance and feeding issues.

“There can also be significant, long-term developmental consequences such as brain damage, congenital syndromes, learning disabilities, behavioral problems and cognitive and language delays,” Griffey said.

“Not only does a mother’s drug use during pregnancy pose a risk to her innocent child’s health and development, but it also imposes socio-economic burdens on society by increasing the need for medical and social services – sometimes on a long-term basis.”

Griffey said last month that he introduced “Kyle’s Law,” named after Kyle Rittenhouse. The bill is aimed at making sure Tennesseans who are acquitted of murder charges after acting in self-defense are compensated for their legal fees and lost wages. In essence, Griffey’s bill is a deterrent against aggressive prosecution.

Many, including former President Donald J. Trump, argue that Rittenhouse should never have been charged in the first place, and that his prosecution was politically motivated. He killed three people who were rioting over the death of George Floyd in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star and The Georgia Star News. Follow Chris on Facebook, Twitter, Parler, and GETTR. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Embryo Week 9-10” by lunar caustic. CC BY 2.0.


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