Law: Here Come the Pregnancy Police

Mothers of drug-exposed infants face legal punishment

Bianca Green was born in February suffering from severe oxygen deprivation, and died two days later. Hospital authorities in Rockford, Ill., soon found signs of what they believed was the cause of death: cocaine in the baby's urine, as well as in the bloodstream of her 24-year-old mother Melanie. Last week local law-enforcement officials arrested Melanie Green and charged her with involuntary manslaughter and supplying drugs to a minor.

Such actions are becoming increasingly common in the U.S. With the rising number of babies exposed to drugs before birth, prosecutors around the country are seeking to punish women who harm their...

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