Addicted Pregnancy as a Sex Crime

72 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2011

See all articles by Lorraine A. Schmall

Lorraine A. Schmall

Northern Illinois University - College of Law

Date Written: 1993


States have adopted unusual and sometimes arguably inapt use of criminal laws to prosecute pregnant drug-using women for harm caused to their newborns. Convictions under common law and codified crimes have been won from juries and courts sympathetic to the goals of the state to protect the unborn. Such state actions are not only sexist and racist, but unfairly punish a victim who likely suffers from serious mental illness and life-threatening physical addictions. Moreover, limiting such crimes only to those who use illegal drugs, rather than women whose children are stillborn or damaged because of the women’s alcohol or food addictions, or the inability to leave physically abusive relationships, poverty or other life-style measures, illustrates the irrationality of such prosecutions.

Suggested Citation

Schmall, Lorraine A., Addicted Pregnancy as a Sex Crime (1993). North Illinois University Law Review, Vol. 13, 1993. Available at SSRN: or

Lorraine A. Schmall (Contact Author)

Northern Illinois University - College of Law ( email )

Swen Parson Hall
DeKalb, IL 60115
United States
815-753-0480 (Phone)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics