Fetal Assault: A New Tennessee Law with a Huge Loophole

/ / Blog, Medical Legal, Negligence, Neonatal, Over Prescription, Substance Abuse

fetal assault prescription loophole

In Tennessee, when a child is born addicted to drugs (particularly narcotics), it is considered fetal assault. Mothers can escape fetal assault charges if they have a prescription for said drugs during their pregnancy. Pain clinics, referred to as “pill mills” by law enforcement, are common in Tennessee, and make it easy for the public, including drug addicts, to get prescription narcotics. While some Tennessee pain clinics turn away pregnant women, many do not. As a result, infant drug dependency is an increasing problem as witnessed by local neonatal healthcare professionals. While “pill mills” are technically legal, they pose a major moral debate, especially in light of the fetal assault prescription loophole and its repercussions. Public officials are currently searching for a regulatory solution.

Listen to an inside perspective on this controversial law on NPR’s All Things Considered.