NAPW Moves to Dismiss Indictment in Lauderdale County, AL Based on Unprecedented and Unconstitutional Theory Regarding Pregnancy, Chronic Pain, and Prescription Drug Use

NAPW Moves to Dismiss Indictment in Lauderdale County, AL Based on Unprecedented and Unconstitutional Theory Regarding Pregnancy, Chronic Pain, and Prescription Drug Use

Today, National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW), with local counsel Brian White, filed a motion to dismiss an indictment against Kimberly Blalock, a mother in Lauderdale County, Alabama.

Ms. Blalock gave birth to a healthy baby on September 29, 2020. She has taken hydrocodone for approximately four years to manage chronic back pain due to the degeneration of discs in her back. She received the hydrocodone pursuant to a prescription by a licensed orthopedic surgery specialist. Ms. Blalock did not take her hydrocodone prescription for the majority of her pregnancy, but resumed taking it when her pain became unbearable at around 34 weeks.

On February 23, 2021, Ms. Blalock was indicted for Unlawful Possession or Receipt of Controlled Substances (“Unlawful Possession”), a felony charge. The prosecution appears to argue that Ms. Blalock engaged in prescription fraud by renewing her prescription to manage her chronic pain during her pregnancy.

The prosecution relies upon an unprecedented and unconstitutional expansion of Alabama law. The Alabama Legislature never intended the use of the Unlawful Possession statute to criminally prosecute pregnant women, such as Ms. Blalock, who sought to renew longstanding, medically-necessary prescriptions to manage their chronic pain. Nor has any Alabama court ever so interpreted the statute. The prosecution’s attempted judicial expansion of the statute violates Ms.Blalock’s constitutional rights to due process, privacy, equal protection, and freedom from compelled speech.

NAPW will fight for the right of Ms. Blalock—and all pregnant people—to access necessary medical care without fear of arrest, prosecution, and incarceration.

Find the motion to dismiss an indictment here.