Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Update on Teresa Hernandez

Teresa Hernandez accepted a plea bargain of second degree murder last month. She was charged for suffering a stillbirth at 32 weeks of pregnancy based on the highly questionable medical claim that the pregnancy loss can be attributed to Ms. Hernandezs drug use during pregnancy.

As Dr. Dana Stone, the Oklahoma state chair for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and one of the experts signing an amicus brief on behalf of Hernandez, explained: "Stillbirths and miscarriages are unfortunately a risk of pregnancy for all women. Prosecuting women for pregnancy loss based on what they allegedly did or didn't do will only deter women from seeking prenatal care and drug treatment, and that's ultimately bad for babies."

In the brief, Hernandez's supporters argue that prosecuting her would discourage drug-dependent women from seeking health care during pregnancy and thus negatively affect both their health and that of their unborn child.

"We don't want to set this precedent," said Stone who signed the amicus brief, said medical issues involving drug use during pregnancy should be addressed by medical experts and not through the use of the legal system.

She said using methamphetamine while pregnant "can't be a beneficial thing at all for your baby," but that no studies definitively prove using the drug would lead to a child being stillborn."

"What is dangerous is prosecuting her legally for a medical outcome that can occur with or without a drug issue," Stone said.

No comments: