A controversial Tennessee law that explicitly makes it a crime to use drugs while pregnant will officially die this summer.
In 2014, when the state passed the so-called fetal assault law over vocal opposition by medical health professionals, it included a built-in expiration date.
On Tuesday, a committee of state legislators considered a bill to permanently extend the law and voted to defeat it. The law will expire in July.
Tennessee's legislation, the first of its kind in the country, has been roundly criticized for discouraging pregnant women from seeking critical prenatal care and drug treatment.
An estimated 100 women have been arrested under the law since it passed.
Allison Glass, state director of Healthy and Free Tennessee, a nonprofit women’s advocacy group, called the bill's expiration a huge victory for Tennessee.
"This would have extended a dangerous and harmful law that has jailed pregnant women and new mothers who have used drugs, instead of working to ensure that they have access to effective treatment options," she said in a statement. "We should never put our criminal justice system in the position of creating health policy."
Farah Diaz-Tello, a lawyer with the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, said that women can still be arrested and charged as the law remains in effect until July 1. "But judges are likely to dismiss these cases if the [district attorneys] don't object," she wrote in an email.
- Why Some Tennessee Women Are Afraid To Give Birth At The Hospital
- Please, Stop Locking Up Pregnant Women For Using Drugs
- Listen To Women Describe The Horror Of Being Shackled While Pregnant
- 'Vagina Monologues' Production Reminds Female Inmates They Aren't Forgotten
- Inside A Notorious Women's Prison Before Its Revolutionary Makeover
- A Cop Faces Charges Of Serial Rape, Yet His 13 Black Accusers Are On Trial
- We're Missing The Big Picture On Mass Shootings
- Why Didn't You Just Leave? Six Domestic Violence Survivors Explain Why It's Never That Simple
- Men Offer Abhorrent Excuses For Killing Women. Don't Repeat Them.