Overview

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 affects on them.

Additional Information

Guttmacher Institute. “Substance Use During Pregnancy”, 1 August 2021, 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

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