A Tennessee woman is facing first-degree murder charges after her newborn twins died prematurely with illegal drugs in their system.
The Tennessean reports Tiffany Marie Roberts, 29, of Chattanooga, gave birth to twins at just 23 weeks of pregnancy earlier this month. The twins died two days later after doctors found illegal drugs in the babies’ systems, according to The Stir.
“Based on Ms. Roberts’ illicit drug use during her pregnancy, in conjunction with the medical records, the infants were subject to aggravated child abuse and neglect which later led to their deaths,” according to a police affidavit.
The case is drawing national attention from abortion activists who argue that Roberts should not be charged in the incident.
Police said Roberts and her twins both tested positive for ecstasy on the day she gave birth. During three separate drug tests during her pregnancy, doctors also found cocaine, oxycodone, roxicodone, methamphetamine, and benzodiazepine in the mother’s system, according to the reports.
Police said Roberts admitted that she “had a problem” taking illegal drugs during her pregnancy.
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Authorities charged her with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse/neglect.
Nancy Rosenbloom, director of legal advocacy for the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, a pro-abortion group, told the Tennessean that the charges are not fair.
“We need to have compassion for this woman,” Rosenbloom said. “Those babies died. She’s suffering. It is the worst possible response to charge someone with crime in those situations.”
However, if the allegations are true, it does appear that Roberts may have been directly responsible for her baby’s deaths. The Stir pointed to research from the America Pregnancy Association about the effects of illegal drugs on unborn babies, including premature labor.
“The elimination of cocaine is slower in a fetus than in an adult,” according to the group. “This means that cocaine remains in the baby’s body much longer than it does in your body.”
At 23 weeks, babies are viable outside the womb. Modern medical advances are saving more babies born at this early gestation. The earliest known premature baby to survive outside the womb was born at 21 weeks and four days of pregnancy. In 2017, the journal Pediatrics highlighted the girl’s survival story.
A Duke University study published in 2017 reported that babies born at just 23 weeks are surviving outside the womb at a greater rate than ever before. Researchers examined 4,500 babies between 2000 and 2011 and found a “small but significant drop in fatalities for babies born between 23 and 37 weeks gestation,” as well as a decrease in premature babies manifesting neurophysiological problems, the Daily Mail reported.
Abortion activists claim these cases are proof that pro-life advocates just want to punish and control women. Some argue that women also might be punished for having a drink while pregnant or failing to get adequate prenatal care.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The pro-life movement has no interest whatsoever in punishing or oppressing mothers. Many pro-life leaders are post-abortive women and men themselves who understood only too late the lies of the abortion industry. They came to the pro-life movement understanding that unborn babies deserve to be protected and their mothers deserve to know the truth that the abortion industry lies to and manipulates them for profit.
Many also recognize that women frequently are pressured or even forced to abort their unborn babies by abusive parents or partners.
What’s more, the pro-life movement historically has opposed punishing mothers for abortions. When abortions were illegal prior to Roe v. Wade, women were not prosecuted for having abortions and current abortion restrictions, such as the ban on partial-birth abortions, do not punish women either.