ACLU working on challenge to Tennessee law allowing drug-addicte

ACLU working on challenge to Tennessee law allowing drug-addicted pregnant women to be prosecuted

Mallory Loyola (source: Monroe County Sheriff's Office) Mallory Loyola (source: Monroe County Sheriff's Office)
NASHVILLE (WATE) - The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee is considering a challenge to Tennessee's new law allowing mothers who use drugs while pregnant to be charged with assault.

The statement comes after a Monroe County mother became the first woman to be arrested and charged with simple assault under the new law.

Previous story: Monroe County arrests mother of drug-positive infant under new law

ACLU-TN says it urged Gov. Bill Haslam to veto the law because, according to the organization, it "raises serious constitutional concerns regarding equal treatment of the law and jeopardizes the health and well-being of Tennesseans."

Previous story: Gov. Haslam signs bill to prosecute mothers who use illicit drugs while pregnant

“This dangerous law unconstitutionally singles out new mothers struggling with addiction for criminal assault charges. By focusing on punishing women rather than promoting healthy pregnancies, the state is only deterring women struggling with alcohol or drug dependency from seeking the pre-natal care they need. ACLU-TN stands ready to challenge this law and encourages any woman concerned about the impact this law will have on her to contact us," said Thomas H. Castelli, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee.

ACLU-TN says it is currently seeking plaintiffs to challenge the law.

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