Do Pregnant Drug Addicts Deserve Jail?

Do pregnant drug addicts deserve jail, is a very hot button question. Some say she can't help it because she has a disease and others see it as nothing short of child abuse. As with the case of a Utah woman who has been charged criminally after giving birth to a drug-addicted baby.

Shea Renee Sheeran, 27, was arrested and charged with child abuse involving intentionally inflicting serious physical injury and child endangerment, both second-degree felonies after giving birth to a baby boy. Toxicology tests conducted on both mother and child after the birth showed Sheeran tested positive for methamphetamine, cocaine, amphetamines and opiates, and her son tested positive for amphetamines and opiates, according to charging documents.

Most pregnant drug addicts only think of themselves and not of their unborn child

Within six hours of his birth the newborn went into full withdrawal and showed symptoms of tremors, high-pitched screaming, was vomiting, and had severe diarrhea. He was also hypersensitive to light, sound and touch. The newborn had to be flown to another hospital to receive morphine to reduce his drug withdrawal symptoms. Treatment is expected to last for several weeks.

The baby has been placed in an adoptive home and his long-term prognosis remains uncertain. He could experience complications including brain damage and learning disabilities. Sheeran told investigators she "kept her pregnancy a secret" from the physician who prescribed strong prescription drugs to her because "she knew that taking them could harm her baby" and she didn't want to be cut off, the charges state. She also admits to using cocaine and heroin early in her pregnancy. Sheeran was on parole from the Utah State Prison at the time of her pregnancy and while giving birth.

If you're pregnant please get help

If addiction is seen as a disease then it really is not a woman's fault if she uses drugs while she is pregnant. But it is her fault if she does not get help while being pregnant. The baby doesn't have a choice, it's up to the pregnant drug addict to do something. So the big question remains, to jail or not to jail.