A bill has been drafted by the Ministry of Justice that would make it illegal for pregnant women to engage in behaviors they know to be damaging to the fetus.
A person can be held accountable for killing a human fetus, according to current law, but if the new bill is passed, women can also be charged for actions that they knew to be damaging to the fetus, Eesti Päevaleht reported today.
“Special emphasis is on the awareness factor; carelessness and ignorance are excluded,” Tanel Kalmet, an adviser of the Penal Law and Procedure Division at the ministry, said.
A penalty for such negligence will be up to five years imprisonment or a fine between 96 and 1,600 euros.
Although it did not say that the bill would specifically target smokers, the daily provided data from the National institute for Health Development, according to which last year 8.3 percent of pregnant women smoked, and quoted Tiiu Piirimäe, a deputy director of the Midwives Association, as saying that smoking, even passive smoking, was the most common unhealthy habit among pregnant women.