In a case about a pregnant woman who used cocaine and endangered her unborn child, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed (8-1) that the word “child” includes “an unborn child,” and that the law therefore “furthers the State’s interest in protecting the life of children from the earliest stages of their development.”
In his concurring opinion, Alabama Chief Justice Roy S. Moore wrote that “an unborn child has an inalienable right to life from its earliest stages of development,” and added, “I write separately to emphasize that the inalienable right to life is a gift of God that civil government must secure for all persons – born and unborn.”
The court decision on April 18 was in reference to Sarah Janie Hicks v. State of Alabama. Hicks had been charged in 2009 with violating Alabama’s chemical-endangerment statute, which in part says that a “person commits the crime of chemical endangerment” by “knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally causes or permits a child to be exposed to, to ingest or inhale, or to have contact with a controlled substance, chemical substance, or drug paraphernalia,” a felony.
In Hicks’ case, she was charged with using cocaine while pregnant. Her child, “J.D.,” tested positive for cocaine “at the time of his birth,” reads the court document. (See Hicks v. Alabama.pdf)