Oklahoma court says child neglect charge applies to unborn
Mike Seals - September 25, 2020 10:51 am
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Unborn children are included in the definition of a “child” for purposes of prosecuting child neglect cases, an Oklahoma appeals court ruled on Thursday.
The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals overturned a lower court ruling in a case involving Kearline Datara Anderson of Rogers County who was charged with child neglect after state prosecutors alleged she used illegal drugs while she was pregnant.
“We think it’s a victory for children,” said Rogers County District Attorney Matt Ballard. “Even an unborn child has a right to be free from illegal drug abuse by a parent.”
Ballard said the Anderson was in her third trimester when she showed up at a hospital emergency room under the influence of drugs.
An attorney for Anderson declined to comment on the ruling.
A Rogers County judge had determined the state’s child neglect law was not applicable when the victim of neglect was an unborn child.