This happens when the mother is drinking alcohol, smoking or using illegal drugs during pregnancy.
As vulnerable as he is, the child has no choice whether or not to take these materials since the membrane wherein exchange happens is only a cell thick (Pillitteri, 2007) and minute breaks could surely allow the entrance of materials inside the growing organism's body. With this occurrence, the use of illegal drugs, alcohol and even tobacco smoking is highly discouraged to pregnant women.
In the early 1990s, there is a very limited attention in law regarding this case. Though many have been challenged and litigated for using these discouraged drugs while carrying a child inside their wombs, many mothers have been saved. However, the case of Jennifer Clarice Johnson was unique among them.
Among an estimated 375,000 children every year being delivered by mothers who use illegal drugs, very few have been tried and convicted. To prevent the dreadful future of these children, authorities have been arresting mothers whose newly-delivered children tested positive for illegal drugs and most cases are from South Carolina and Florida (Lewin, 1992).
Jennifer Clarice Johnson is a twenty-three year old African-American woman residing in Florida, who was charged, tried and convicted with two-counts of delivery of illegal substance to a minor through the umbilical cord (Paltrow, 1992). In fact, Johnson was the first woman to be convicted of such case. The charges brought about to the penalty of one-year treatment sentence and fourteen years of probation.
The case was filed on account of her two children, a son who was born 1987 and a daughter born 1989. Both children made a positive result for cocaine after being tested and made Ms. Johnson guilty on July the same year she gave birth to her youngest child- the daughter.
Johnson admitted to the use of cocaine the day before her delivery of both children though both were delivered healthy and in full-term (Lewin, 1992). However, authorities pursued of trying her into courts which made her guilty of the case. The verdict however, gained media attention and several authorities of law gave their disappointed remarks regarding the ruling because of its unconstitutionality.
THE LAW: PROCEDURES AND RULES OF LAW
The Florida Supreme Court gave a guilty verdict on the Johnson, vs. State of Florida case due to several rules and laws which the court interpreted as applicable to the case at bar.
First is that according to Section 893.13(1) (c) 1. Florida Statutes (1989), any person 18 years of age or older who uses a person under the age of 18 in the delivery of any controlled substance is unlawful (Johnson, vs. State of Florida, 1992). With this statute applied to Florida, the case of Johnson was formulated.
After being convicted of the case filed against her, Johnson filed an appeal for the court to reverse the conviction casted upon her. And in the year 1992, the Florida Supreme Court has indeed reversed the ruling due to some more substantiated evidences and interpretations of law.
In the Florida statute stated above, there is really a discrepancy in the use of the term delivery. Delivery in the statute unclearly refers to the delivery of drug through a mother's umbilical cord and that the legislative history does not manifest