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Mother sought under new Tennessee child abuse law

By Ashley Nerbovig

This article was published July 24, 2014 at 10:20 a.m.

Jamillah Washington

Do you think that using drugs while pregnant should be considered child abuse and prosecuted?

  • Yes. 83% 104 votes
  • No. 6% 8 votes
  • In some cases. 5% 7 votes
  • I don't know. 2% 3 votes
  • Other (please comment) 2% 3 votes

125 total votes.

A woman in Memphis is being sought by police after giving birth to a baby addicted to illegal drugs, now a crime under Tennessee law, the Memphis Police Department said.

Jamillah Washington, 30, gave birth July 5 at a Memphis hospital, police said. After hospital staff determined the baby was addicted to illegal drugs, they notified the Tennessee Department of Children Services. After Memphis detectives investigated, police issued a warrant for Washington's arrest on a simple assault charge.

She is not in custody at this time, police said.

The law, which made the abuse of fetuses a crime under state law, allows the state to prosecute mothers who give birth to drug-addicted babies. The law went into effect July 1, and Washington is the first to be prosecuted by Memphis police under the statute, the department said.

Information on Washington's whereabouts can be shared with CrimeStoppers at (910) 528- 2274.

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