Soon it's going to be a crime in Tennessee for a pregnant woman to take medications of any kind while pregnant. In seeking to curb illicit use of drugs and alcohol by pregnant women, the Hog and Hominy State threw out the baby with the bathwater (pardon the pun) .
The bill will criminalize pregnant women from using all medications including those for nausea, flu, mental health, pain, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart rate, or even alcohol or drug dependency meds. Sound crazy? Not so much in the eyes of Governor Bill Haslam who just signed the bill into law.
Tennessee women who use drugs while pregnant can be criminally charged for harm done to their infants beginning July 1.
Gov. Bill Haslam signed the legislation Tuesday after “extensive conversations with experts including substance abuse, mental health, health and law enforcement officials,” he wrote in a statement. “The intent of this bill is to give law enforcement and district attorneys a tool to address illicit drug use among pregnant women through treatment programs.”
The governor’s decision comes after a week of mounting nationwide opposition from civil and reproductive rights groups. They argued that criminalization would drive vulnerable women away from drug addiction treatment.
In targeting illicit drugs Governor Haslam cast the net openly and now all medications, even those written and monitored by licensed physicians could result in an expectant mother being fined or even doing time in jail. And forcing women into costly state-run drug rehabilitation programs may cause women to even avoid revealing their dependency problems to their obstetricians for fear they may get reported.
So bite the bullet and suck in the pain, ladies of Tennessee. Your Republican-run state moves to the forefront of the anti-woman's movement with outrageous and outlandish laws. I guess the lesson in Tennessee is if you're a woman, don't get sick and go to a doctor when you're preggers, because there's nothing they can do for you other than say, tough it out.