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Oklahoma Voices:
Women, Pregnancy and Drug Use (Dec 16, 2007)

This week, Oklahoma City resident Theresa Lee Hernandez will be sentenced for the 2004 stillborn death of her child. Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater charged Hernandez with second degree murder after her baby boy was born dead with methamphetamine in his system. But more than 150 doctors and medical groups from across the nation – including the Oklahoma State Medical Association and the state Nurse’s Association -- are opposing the prosecution. They say it’s “highly questionable” whether the stillbirth can be attributed to Hernandez’s drug use, and they fear that such prosecutions could deter pregnant women from seeking help when they have drug abuse problems.

We speak to Hernandez’s attorney, Jim Rowan, and listen back to a panel discussion on the issue organized last month by the group National Advocates for Pregnant Women. It was held at the Presbyterian Health Foundation in Oklahoma City and included Dr. Barry Lester, Director of the Brown University Center for Study of Children at Risk; Oklahoma City OB/GYN Eli Reshef (pictured above) and Mary Barr, former drug addict and Executive Director of Conexions. She lectures around the country on drugs, addiction, substance abuse, the drug war, prison and her own experiences with the criminal justice system.

Download and view the Powerpoint presentation that went along with Dr. Barry Lester's talk

Read the open letter medical and health groups and individuals sent in June to Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater

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