The Senate Judiciary Committee is considering SB 459 – a bill that would allow for the criminal prosecution of a woman for harm to an unborn child due to intentional and unlawful use of controlled substances.

Senator Brad Lager (R-Savannah) sponsors the legislation. He says the state must do what is necessary to protect the unborn child.

“I just believe strongly that this type of action and this type of behavior cannot be condoned,” Lager told the committee. “And we need to take the steps necessary to make sure that, you know, whether it’s a child that’s born or unborn that this type of action – we have a method and a way to deal with it accordingly and, unfortunately, today we don’t.”

But Senator Jolie Justus (D-Kansas City) fears a law of this kind might have unintended consequences.

“We are going to, number one, scare women away from getting any sort of pre-natal care, whatsoever,” stated Justus. “And then, number two, I think an unintended consequence may be an increase in abortions because people who want to continue their lifestyle of taking drugs, they’re going to know that this could be a possibility that they could go to jail for it. So, instead of maybe seeking pre-natal care or trying to come up with other solutions that they’re going to seek an abortion.”

The hearing ended with the panel taking no vote.

Download/Listen: Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on SB 459 (15:00 MP3)