Knoxville mother fighting proposal to extend fetal assault law

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NASHVILLE (WATE) – An East Tennessee mother traveled to Nashville in hopes of making her argument as to why a law that’s been in the headlines should go away.

Brittany Hudson was among the first to be charged under the law covering women who take drugs while pregnant. She was arrested in November of 2014 in Blount County after giving birth in a car on the side of the road. An investigation later revealed she had taken drugs during her pregnancy.

Hudson was prepared to testify in front of lawmakers on Tuesday against the fetal assault law, but the vote to extend the law was postponed until next Tuesday in the House Criminal Justice subcommittee. “I truly believe that they had good intentions going in, but it’s not been the outcome they expected. I hope that they see addiction is a true disease and you’re not getting it behind bars,” the Knoxville mother said.Related:Jellico clinic’s unique approach to helping drug addicted moms

Hudson is fighting for the law to come to an end. As someone who was charged under that law, she said jail time didn’t help. The 25 year old said her daughter was the biggest reason why she decided to get clean.

“I didn’t get clean because of this law and it didn’t help me,” said Hudson. “I believe we need to be proactive and treat this as a healthcare issue rather than treatment behind bars because there is no treatment in jail.”

Hudson was addicted to morphine. Back in 2014, investigators said she had taken drugs while pregnant including the day before she gave birth.

The Knoxville mother said the current law is preventing pregnant women addicted to drugs from seeking prenatal care. “I want babies born clean too, but I want it to be let’s care for the mom and the babies. A lot of these women don’t have a voice,” she said.

Currently in Tennessee, a woman can be prosecuted if they’re addicted to drugs while pregnant and give birth to a baby born drug dependent. That law is supposed to sunset in July of this year, but some state lawmakers want it to stick around.

State Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster) is the House sponsor of the bill. State Sen. Reginald Tate (D-Memphis) is the Senate sponsor.More online: Extending the Fetal Assault Law

However, Hudson said she’s an example of treatment being a better option. “I work in a treatment center. I have joint custody of my daughter. I have 14 months clean. I have a car and haven’t had one of those in a while. It’s been a very exciting journey,” she said.

Nearly 30 advocacy groups oppose the bill. Hudson said she plans on traveling to Nashville each time the bill is up for a vote.

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