Individuals using illegal drugs and/or alcohol during pregnancy should not be subject to criminal sanctions. Those who are not pregnant and using illegal substances generally do not face criminal charges but receive appropriate treatment in response to their addiction. Criminalizing the conduct of those who are pregnant and using drugs does not improve outcomes for them or their fetuses but has deleterious effects on them.
See American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “Opposition to Criminalization of Individuals During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period”, Statement of Policy, approved December 2020. https://www.acog.org/clinical-information/policy-and-position-statements/statements-of-policy/2020/opposition-criminalization-of-individuals-pregnancy-and-postpartum-period.
Bishop, Darla, et al. “Pregnant Women and Substance Use.” Overview of Research and Policy in the United States, February 2017. Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health, George Washington University, Bridging the Divide: A Project of the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health. https://hsrc.himmelfarb.gwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1004&context=sphhs_centers_jacobs
France, Hannah. 2022. “Doctors say methamphetamine use does not cause miscarriages.” KGOU. https://www.kgou.org/health/2022-01-26/doctors-say-methamphetamine-use-does-not-cause-miscarriages.
Weber, Andrea, Miskle, Benjamin, Lynch, Alison. “Substance Use in Pregnancy: Identifying Stigma and Improving Care.” Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, 23 November 2021, doi: 10.2147/SAR.S319180
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “About Opioid Use During Pregnancy.” Pregnancy, 20 July 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/opioids/basics.html
Guttmacher Institute. “Substance Use During Pregnancy”, August 1, 2022, https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/substance-use-during-pregnancy.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “Substance Abuse Reporting and Pregnancy: The Role of the Obstetrician-Gynecologist”, Committee Opinion, No. 473, January 2011, reaffirmed 2014, https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2011/01/substance-abuse-reporting-and-pregnancy-the-role-of-the-obstetrician-gynecologist
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG,), “Opioid Use and Opioid Use Disorder in Pregnancy”, Committee Opinion, No. 711, August 2017, https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2017/08/opioid-use-and-opioid-use-disorder-in-pregnancy
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “Alcohol Abuse and Other Substance use Disorders: Ethical Issues in Obstetric and Gynecologic Practice”, Committee Opinion, No. 633, June 2015, https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2015/06/alcohol-abuse-and-other-substance-use-disorders-ethical-issues-in-obstetric-and-gynecologic-practice
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “Marijuana Use During Pregnancy and Lactation”, Committee Opinion, No. 722, October 2017, https://www.acog.org/-/media/project/acog/acogorg/clinical/files/committee-opinion/articles/2017/10/marijuana-use-during-pregnancy-and-lactation.pdf
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “Opposition to Criminalization of Individuals During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period”, Statement of Policy, approved December 2020, https://www.acog.org/clinical-information/policy-and-position-statements/statements-of-policy/2020/opposition-criminalization-of-individuals-pregnancy-and-postpartum-period
American Medical Association. “Pregnancy and Childbirth, Legal Interventions During Pregnancy H-420.969.” American Medical Association, PolicyFinder, 2018, https://policysearch.ama-assn.org/policyfinder/detail/women?uri=%2FAMADoc%2FHOD.xml-0-3712.xml.