Paragould Grandmother Inspires Bill to Punish Moms Who Take Illegal Drugs While Pregnant

FEBRUARY 15, 2005 - Posted at 7:42 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Mothers who take illegal drugs while pregnant and cause their babies to be born with drugs in their systems could be charged under a bill that the state Legislature is considering.

A Senate committee has approved the bill called Garrett's Law.  The legislation is inspired by a Paragould grandmother, who is on a quest to make something positive out of the drug-induced death of her infant grandson.  Critics warn the bill could make drug-using pregnant women avoid important pre-natal care.

The proposal's namesake was the infant grandson of Betty Stahl of Paragould.  He was one of a set of twins born to a methamphetamine addict.  Garrett's twin sister survived and recently celebrated her first birthday, but he died just months later from complications of being born six weeks early under the influence of meth.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)