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Court To Decide If Drug Use While Pregnant Is Child Abuse

Gosia Wozniacka
AP, file
In this June 26, 2015, file photo, different varieties of marijuana flowers are displayed at a medical marijuana dispensary in Portland, Ore.

Pennsylvania's highest court will determine whether a woman's use of illegal drugs while pregnant qualifies as child abuse under state law.

The Supreme Court has taken up the case of a woman who tested positive for suboxone and marijuana at the time she gave birth early last year at Williamsport Hospital.

A county judge ruled that didn't qualify as child abuse under the state's Child Protective Services Law, but the intermediate Superior Court said drug use while pregnant can make bodily injury likely for a child after birth.

Court records indicate the child spent 19 days in the hospital being treated for drug dependence withdrawal.

The mother's lawyers argue lawmakers never intended the child protection law to apply to acts during pregnancy.