Pennsylvania’s highest court will determine whether a woman’s use of illegal drugs while pregnant qualifies as child abuse under state law.
The Supreme Court has taken up the case of a woman who tested positive for suboxone and marijuana at the time she gave birth early last year at a central Pennsylvania hospital.
A county judge ruled that didn’t qualify as child abuse under the state’s Child Protective Services Law, but the intermediate Superior Court said drug use while pregnant can make bodily injury likely for a child after birth.
he Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision regarding drug use while pregnant could have an effect on a local case.
Last year, a Butler County judge tossed out a felony assault charge against 30-year-old Kasey Dischman, who overdosed on heroin while seven months pregnant. Dischman had to have an emergency C-section and gave birth to a premature girl, who may suffer lasting injuries.
The Butler County mother was initially charged in June 2017 with aggravated assault on an unborn child after allegedly overdosing at her East Butler home but a judge later ruled state law protects pregnant women from such charges.