Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lawyer: Drop Case against Mother Accused of Harming Unborn Child

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Lawyer: Drop Case against Mother Accused of Harming Unborn Child

Article excerpt

The attorney for a Butler County woman charged with harming her unborn child by overdosing on heroin while pregnant called on a judge Monday to dismiss her criminal case.

Joseph Smith, a Butler County public defender, filed paperwork on behalf of his client, Kasey Dischman, 30, in which he argued that state law bars the Butler County District Attorney's office from prosecuting Dischman and urged Common Pleas Judge William Shaffer to dismiss the single charge she faces: aggravated assault of an unborn child.

In the motion, Mr. Smith points to a clause that protects pregnant women from being prosecuted for assaulting their unborn children.

The statute makes it a crime to maim or kill an unborn baby. However, the law also establishes three exceptions: It can't be used to prosecute people who perform legal abortions, medical personnel, or pregnant women for harming their own unborn children. …

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