Offer treatment for drug-addicted moms, not jail time!

  • by: SUE LEE
  • target: State of Tennessee Justice System

Please sign and share this petition everywhere in an effort to get Tennessee to offer help and treatment for drug-addicted moms rather than throwing them in jail to give birth, putting the mother and child in danger. Nothing is resolved by throwing a new mom in jail, rather than extending mandatory medical help for her and her child!

A new mom in Tennessee, 26-year-old Mallory Loyola, was recently charged with assault when she tested positive for methamphetamines just prior to giving birth. Instead of doing the right thing by seeking licensed medical care to treat addiction issues and helping these women access rehab services, the state is trying to put them in jail. Such actions puts children and mothers at a higher risk.

The Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) states that “This law was sold as if it were just about illegal narcotics. But sure enough, the first case has nothing to do with illegal narcotics, and nothing actually to do with harm to anybody. There’s no injury. There’s just a positive drug test. The view of pregnant women essentially means that as soon as you’re carrying a fertilized egg, you’ve lost your medical privacy and your right to make medical decisions. But all matters concerning pregnancy are health care matters. Pregnancy, like other health issues, should be addressed through the public health system and not through the criminal punishment system or the civil child welfare system.”

Many other medical organizations are also on board with the NAPW, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Public Health Association; all of whom oppose jail time instead of opting for health care and treatment for mom and child. A campaign was started, stating "Healthcare Not Handcuffs."

The Chairperson for Healthy and Free Tennessee states that “These punitive measures are proven to be ineffective, and yet our state chooses to waste tax dollars locking up women instead of getting them the health care they need. We are already receiving reports of women seeking out non-licensed health providers to avoid having a medical record and risking arrest. This is extremely dangerous."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee is currently seeking plaintiffs to challenge the state’s new law, stating that “This dangerous law unconstitutionally singles out new mothers struggling with addiction for criminal assault charges."

Please sign and share this petition everywhere in an effort to get Tennessee to offer help and treatment for drug-addicted moms rather than throwing them in jail to give birth, putting the mother and child in danger. Nothing is resolved by throwing a new mom in jail, rather than extending mandatory medical help for her and her child!

State of Tennessee Justice System - Please reconsider jailing these pregnant woman for using drugs. Instead, implement a program that would give them the medical care they need, for themselves and their babies. The new law that you are trying to enforce is a dangerous law that unconstitutionally singles out new mothers struggling with addiction for criminal assault charges. Choose healthcare instead of jail time and handcuffs, and help these mothers to recover and care for their babies. They do not belong in jail and neither do their newborns!

Sign Petition

privacy policy

By signing, you accept Care2's terms of service.

Having problems signing this? Let us know.