During a press conference at the Statehouse last week, State Representatives Doug Green (R-Mt. Orab) and Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta) introduced legislation called “Maiden’s Law,” which is aimed at encouraging expectant mothers who are addicted to heroin and opiates to seek medical help.
Specifically, the bill encourages women in these circumstances to visit their doctor for prenatal screenings and receive treatment. To aid in this process, the legislation establishes that a children services agency cannot file a complaint or remove a child simply because the newborn’s mother used a controlled substance while pregnant. To qualify for this protection, the mother is required to:
1. Enroll in a drug treatment program
2. Successfully complete, or be in the process of completing, a program and is in compliance with the program’s terms and conditions as determined by the treatment provider
3. Maintain her regularly scheduled appointments and prenatal care recommended by her healthcare provider for the remaining duration of her pregnancy
“There are three goals that accompany this piece of legislation,” Green said. “Those are to have clean mothers, healthier babies, and, ultimately, keeping the mother and child together. There is no silver bullet in treating addiction, but when we can extend to someone an opportunity to recovery, we must act.”
The bill was formally introduced in the House following the press conference. It will soon be referred to a standing committee.