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Tennessee Fetal Assault Bill (SB 1381)

This law was last updated on Feb 7, 2019




SB 1381


Failed to Pass


Feb 9, 2017


Primary Sponsors: 1
Total Sponsors: 1


Substance Abuse During Pregnancy

Full Bill Text

SB 1381 would allow an individual to be prosecuted for assault for the illegal use of a narcotic while pregnant, if their child is born addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug and the addiction or harm is a result of their illegal use of a narcotic drug taken while pregnant.

This bill makes it an affirmative defense if the individual actively enrolled in a long term addiction recovery program before the child was born, remained in the programs after delivery, and successfully completed the program, regardless of whether the child is born addicted to, dependent upon, or harmed by the narcotic drug.

Medical experts are opposed to criminalizing pregnancy outcomes resulting from drug use, because it can discourage women who use drugs from seeking prenatal care, or even encourage them to abort a wanted pregnancy rather than risk prosecution. Even some anti-choice groups are opposed to the bill because it could encourage more abortions. (Source.)

Related Legislation

Similar to the Fetal Assault Law of 2014, which expired on July 1, 2016.

Similar to SB 1629/HB 1660, which sought to make the fetal assault law of 2014 permanent. Both bills were introduced in 2016 and failed to pass.


Primary Sponsor