EXPERT TELL: Taking a Case to the PA Supreme Court and Winning

David S. Cohen, JD, a professor in the Kline School of Law, along with an attorney from the Women’s Law Project, represented a Pennsylvania woman who had tested positive for marijuana and suboxone (prescription medicine for treating opioid addiction) when she delivered a baby at Williamsport Hospital in 2017.

A Superior Court ruled the new mother was to be charged with civil child abuse for using drugs when pregnant. This decision would have significant implications for the rights of pregnant women. It led Cohen to petition the state Supreme Court, which agreed to review the matter.

In September of 2019, Cohen successfully argued that a pregnant woman who uses drugs does not qualify as a perpetrator of abuse under the state’s child abuse statute. The case, In re L.J.B., sets an important precedent that protects women who are struggling with drug abuse from being prosecuted for being pregnant, he recounts the experience here:

Drexel faculty and researchers are committed to addressing society’s most significant problems, and work assiduously to create solutions to real-world challenges. Through experiential learning, students develop knowledge, skills and values from direct experiences outside of a traditional academic setting.

Media interested in speaking with Cohen should contact Emily Storz, or 215-895-2705.

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