Alabama Supreme Court Rules That Women Can Be Charged With Chemical Endangerment if They Become Pregnant and Use a Controlled Substance


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New York, NY –(ENEWSPF)—April 22, 2014. On Friday, April 18, 2014, the Alabama Supreme Court issued a 8-1 decision in Ex Parte Hicks upholding the conviction of Sara Hicks, who gave birth to a healthy baby who tested positive for cocaine in 2008. This decision affirmed the Court’s prior ruling in Ex Parte Ankrom, holding that that the plain meaning of the word “child” in the Alabama law unambiguously includes fertilized eggs and that pregnant women may be arrested for using a controlled substance while pregnant.

The chemical endangerment law was passed in 2006 to deter people from bringing children to places where controlled substances are produced or distributed, such as methamphetamine laboratories. Since 2006, more than 100 women who became pregnant and tested positive for a controlled substance have been arrested. Some have experienced pregnancy losses, but the majority – like Sara Hicks – have continued their pregnancies to term and given birth to healthy children.


Yes, let us criminalize motherhood as much as possible. That way the mother will become a convicted felon and won’t be able to find employment to support her child. She also will not be eligible for job training or attend college using grants and loans.

Recently a southern State legislator wanted to introduce a law for the police to investigate each miscarriage so that if any fault could be found with the mother she could be charged under manslaughter laws.

Have mercy on us.


That’s a bad idea in my opinion. What will a pregnant woman do when she realizes she needs help but is afraid of criminal penalties for using drugs while pregnant? We should treat these women as people who need medical help, not criminals.

Also, I could be wrong but it seems they are only talking about illegal drugs. Alcohol is far more damaging than most drugs on an unborn child. The results are devestating and life long for everybody involved.


None of which has anything to do with being a mother and everything to do with using illegal drugs.

Recently a southern State legislator wanted to introduce a law for the police to investigate each miscarriage so that if any fault could be found with the mother she could be charged under manslaughter laws.

Have mercy on us.

I hardly find the opinions of a single state legislator to be something to cause alarm.


Whether or not one thinks this is a good policy, this response is a straw man.


My only worry with this type of law is that if the mother fears she will be prosecuted she will have more of an inclination towards abortion. Knowing that you won’t be able to quit an illegal substance to which you’re highly addicted, and that if you give birth to the child the doctors will know about your use of it during your pregnancy, seems like it would be a very compelling reason to seek abortion in order to save yourself.


What charges would somebody who forces a pregnant woman to take a drug get?


If you had read the whole argument you would see it is an attempt to help the unborn. We as Catholics are against abortion and this is a step. The law states that all children are protected from chemical endangerment. This is a step against abortion because all children now includes the unborn. I know alcohol should be included as well as illegal drug but this is a victory.

We should be happy that a law now protects the unborn to have a God given right to exist.


Given the choice between criminal charges and abortion, what do you think a poor woman is going to feel drawn towards? The baby is obviously important but the mother is equally important. Is a drug addicted pregnant woman not among the most vulnarable and helpless in our society? Is turning them into criminals really the best course of action?

As I see it, there is nothing compassionate about this so I am against it.


I do believe anyone taking illegal drugs should be penalized. However…

I wonder how long it will take for pregnant women to be refused their regular daily medications due to side effects to the unborn. I wonder how long it will take for pregnant women to be challenged in court by husbands, grandparents or other parties, for taking medications and/or treatments (such as cancer treatments) while pregnant. I wonder if those fears would push women towards abortion rather than risking being taken to court over it.

Even on this small forum we see a pretty good divide on what treatments pregnant women should be allowed to have. For example, some will argue that she should “suck it up” and not receive cancer treatments, and would go far to try and prevent it - and others have argued that such treatments are licit. With such a divide on such a small forum, I can see the mess of opinions complicating things in the country in this matter.


Drug addition is a serious debilitation that is not easy to overcome. Given the choice between abortion and possibly going to jail for a drug addition, what do you think they will do? Certainly not stop doing drugs without a whole lot of help. I see pregnant women in and out of rehab all the time, and those are the ones not threatened by the law. This is a lame attempt to help the unborn that will ultimately lead to more abortions, which BTW, are legal. If they wanted to help the unborn, they would take more aggressive measures toward rehabilitation of these mothers, not scare them into taking action that would relieve them of jail time.


I think you are misunderstanding what I am trying to say. The law before this said that children are protected from chemical endangerment. this may include meth lab or leaving drugs or alcohol where children would be in danger. This law now said the unborn have same rights. I don’t think they would be more drawn to abortion than give birth. I know a woman who gave birth in a bathtub in while on a cocaine binge. Should she not be charged? I know they are vulnerable & helpless but what are we suppose to do if it damages a baby. I am just happy that the court should protect the unborn.


Has the chemical endangerment law been contionally in effect since it was passed and signed into law 2006? When have you read of a single case of any of which you describe?


Has the chemical endangerment law been continually in effect since it was passed and signed into law 2006? When have you read of a single case of any of which you describe? Perhaps there has been a case but it has not been publicised or you have not read of it?


I haven’t read a single case that I described - yet. However, I have read on this forum of people who would, if they could, take pregnant women to court over treatments they didn’t approve. Just a few weeks ago, a family had to go to court to take a pregnant woman off life support. Life support, even according to the Church, is an extraordinary measure and can be withdrawn. I see this law, if enforced, as increasing the number of abortions in drug addicted pregnant women out of fear, as well as opening a gateway to more litigation against pregnant women who are receiving medications and treatments that others would not approve of.

If these lawmakers really wanted to help the unborn, they would do more to rehabilitate the women.





All are very good points.

Was the divorce rate near 50%, abortion legal, and Gay ‘Marriage’ being pushed into law a mere 8 years after the pill and ‘free love’ began? We can’t sit back and assume consequences won’t occur just because they haven’t happened yet.


Ah yes, the legislator wants to give more power to the State (in this case the police). :rolleyes:
For anyone who is connecting the dots, I see nothing pro-life about it.

Speaking as a man, any state which introduced such a law would not have me passing through it, for I oppose this proposed injustice.


I did misunderstand.

I do think it’s a good thing to acknowledge the unborn as people with rights, I fully support that. I don’t support making it a criminal offense though. I do believe that if a woman is found to be doing things that are damaging to the baby, she should be given mandatory treatment until the baby is born but should not be punished. Unfortunatly at this point in time, she has the option to avoid the treatment by having an abortion so it’s difficult. I have seen the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome, it’s one of the worst things you can do to a child.

Just to show consistancy, I think that, in general, we need to treat drug issues as medical issues, not criminal.


This is a very difficult law to understand. I know most are not on my side. We are protecting the mother due to her circumstances. I above everyone knows about addiction and what it can do to you. Most people do not care about the poor, addicts or prisoners. I have a son who did drugs and is now serving time in prison He has served 4 years for something he did to himself… Do I think he needed to pay for what he did? I do because it is against the law. I have stood by his side and continue to support him and send him money. He has lost 50 ibs and will have a difficult time when he gets out. He will live with me & his Father and we will stand by him. I am telling you this so you know I feel for the addicted. If you do not want help and continue to not seek help do we just turn a blind eye. I am all for helping the ones who want help and no they will not be charged with a crime. what do we do for the ones we cannot reach. we try to give help but they refuse. We cannot find them or help them all,


:thumbsup: Yes. Most people taking these drugs were coerced in to starting, or started because of mental illness, and are incapable of stopping on their own. They need assistance and compassion, not jail time.

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