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Judge strikes down state law on pregnant drug abusers

MADISON, Wis. - A federal judge has struck down a Wisconsin law that allowed the state to detain pregnant women suspected of drug or alcohol abuse.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson declared that the law is "void for vagueness." In his ruling Friday, he said the amount of drug use by pregnant women that should prompt state action and the risks to fetuses are unclear.

The case involves a woman who said the 1998 law was unconstitutional. She was 14 weeks pregnant when tests showed traces of methamphetamine and marijuana in her body. A judge ordered her into inpatient drug treatment. When she refused, she was jailed for 18 days until she agreed to drug testing throughout her pregnancy.

The state Department of Justice, which could appeal, says it's still reviewing the decision.


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