Drugs & Babies

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A panel of state lawmakers on endorsed a bill today that would give drug-using mothers a chance to kick their addiction and keep their babies.

The proposal comes in response to the growing number of babies born with methamphetamine in their systems. Members of both the House and Senate agreed to change the law to make using illegal drugs while pregnant a form of child abuse or neglect.

Drug use would be determined with a blood test at birth.

The intent is to get those mothers into court and into treatment programs faster. The House and Senate had been at odds over whether judges should be able to immediately terminate a mother's parental rights if she had previously failed a previous treatment plan and her baby tested positive.

Critics said those mothers would likely have more babies while continuing to abuse drugs and might not seek help for fear of losing custody.