Monday, September 29, 2003

Drugs and Pre-born Children

The SCOTUS is scheduled to decide today whether it will review the case of a woman who was convicted of murder after it was discovered that her stillborn baby tested positive for cocaine.

The case, McKnight v. South Carolina, No. 02-1741, could bring the Supreme Court into the national debate over fetal rights.

McKnight, a 26-year-old native of Horry County, S.C., lived with her mother until her mother was killed in an auto accident in 1998. McKnight then became homeless and developed a cocaine addiction. She got pregnant. After delivering a stillborn baby girl in 1999, an autopsy revealed the presence of cocaine in the child's blood. McKnight was arrested, charged with homicide by child abuse, and sentenced to 12 years in prison in May 2001.

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