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North Carolina Pregnancy Criminalization Law (SB 297)

This law was last updated on Nov 18, 2018


North Carolina


SB 297


Failed to Pass


Mar 17, 2015


Co-sponsors: 6
Primary Sponsors: 2
Total Sponsors: 8


Substance Abuse During Pregnancy

Full Bill Text

SB 297 would criminalize prenatal drug use.

The bill states that a woman may be prosecuted for assault for the illegal use of narcotics while pregnant, if her child is born addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug and the addiction or harm is a result of her illegal use of a narcotic drug taken while pregnant.

It would be an affirmative defense to a prosecution that the woman actively enrolled in an addiction recovery program before the child was born, remained in the program after delivery, and successfully completed the program, regardless of whether the child was born addicted to or harmed by the controlled substance. In other words, if a woman is arrested and prosecuted for illegal use of drugs, she could raise the fact that she completed a rehab program at trial and escape conviction under this provision.

This provision would not  apply to any lawful act or lawful omission by a pregnant woman with respect to an unborn child with which she is pregnant, or any lawful medical or surgical procedure to which a pregnant woman consents, performed by a health care professional who is licensed to perform such procedure.