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Cocaine use cited as cause of stillbirth

Posted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 4:10 pm
by Dazeemay ... =localnews

Mom charged in death of fetus
Cocaine use cited as cause of stillbirth

The Post and Courier

Standing in front of a judge, Jennifer Ann Carter wiped tears from her eyes as she listened to a victim's advocate describe her behavior while she was pregnant.

"This defendant knowingly put drugs in her body and harmed her baby," said Easter Laroche, victim's advocate for the Charleston County Sheriff's Office.

"You don't even know my baby," Carter said, glaring at Laroche.

Carter, 24, has been charged with abusing her fetus after tests showed her stillborn infant had cocaine in his system. If convicted, Carter could face up to 10 years in prison.

The male fetus was about 22 weeks along when Carter went into labor at Medical University Hospital on Jan. 26, according to an arrest affidavit.

The Charleston County Coroner's Office was alerted to the infant's death and began its investigation after receiving medical records from the hospital.

Chief Deputy Coroner Rae Wooten notified the Sheriff's Office after a toxicology test determined the infant had benzoylecgonine in his system, which is a metabolized product of cocaine.

Carter was arrested Thursday at her second cousin's home in West Ashley.

For the past five years, Carter said she has lived her life in a blur under the influence of cocaine and marijuana, according to an affidavit.

Raised in Illinois, Carter moved to Charleston with her grandparents about

12 years ago, said her second cousin, Heather VanBarriger. She said her younger cousin fell into a deep depression after the death of the infant, whom she named Thomas Carter Baker.

Charged with unlawful conduct toward a child, Carter stood alone in bond court Friday as she sobbed into her hands.

Magistrate Linda Lombard set bail at $100,000 and ordered Carter to undergo drug counseling.

South Carolina is one of the only states that uses child-abuse laws to prosecute pregnant women who engage in behavior, such as drug use, that might harm a viable fetus.

Opponents of the law say there is no scientific proof that drug use caused stillbirth. Instead, they argue that juries and justices continue to base decisions on misinformation about the effects of crack cocaine on fetuses and that the law is too far-reaching.

In Charleston County, police, prosecutors and health-care workers cooperated in the late 1980s and early 1990s to arrest drug-addicted women who sought health care.

In 1989, Charleston teamed with police and prosecutors and began testing pregnant women for drugs. The women were admitted to Medical University Hospital for prenatal care and submitted to what they thought were routine medical tests. Only afterward were they told that test results would be submitted to law enforcement agencies and that they could be prosecuted. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in March 2001 that those women's rights were violated because the consent form to conduct drug testing did not specify that police would get the results or that the women would be arrested.

Reach John Chambliss at [email protected] or 937-5573.

However, there are states that do not consider this abuse. ... topic&f=11

Posted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 7:35 am
by florida999
at 22 weeks wouldnt their be a question of viability? we have a case here were a boyfirend murdered his pregnant girlfriend, she was a think about 20 weeks along or so and he wasnt charged with the death of the fetus becuase it wasnt viable. i guess every state is different. also, there discribing it as a stillborn birth, but i would think it would be more like a late term misccarriage, and who can say for sure what caused it.

Posted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 7:41 am
by Dazeemay
and who can say for sure what caused it.

Exactly!! Who can say, but the government and courts are making more and more decisions for us.

Posted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 11:14 am
by mrsmac
And the government gets away with the drugs they experiment with on we human guineapigs.

This is setting a very scary precedence. Next will be the mommy or daddy who smoked tobacco or the mommy who didnt take prenatal vitamins etc. It could go on and on, especially when they dont know for sure and wish to use whatever they can to implicate.