A judge tossed a felony assault charge against a Pennsylvania woman who overdosed on heroin while pregnant -- giving her unborn child brain damage.
Kasey Dischman, 31, overdosed on June 23 at a house in East Butler while she was seven months pregnant. She went into cardiac arrest, then a coma, which resulted in doctors having to perform a cesarean section.
Dischman was facing a charge for felony assault after her child was brain damaged due to her drug use, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. However, Butler County Common Pleas Judge William Shaffer threw out the charge because he said it’s against state law.
“The defendant is alleged to have done a senseless, selfish, and heinous act that, allegedly, resulted in devastating and permanent injuries to her unborn child,” Shaffer wrote, according to the Post-Gazette. “This court is nonetheless constrained by the clear, plain, and unambiguous language of [the law].”
Pennsylvania state law, according to the newspaper, “says pregnant women can’t be charged with aggravated assault against their own unborn children.”
“It's an egregious thing that happened. We have a mother who was seven months pregnant who intentionally used heroin and overdosed and left her baby brain damaged,” Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger told WPXI.
Goldinger called the law “bad” and said: “I don’t think it was intended to protect women who are that far along in a pregnant who ingest drugs and cause an overdose. We owed it to that child to pursue these charges.”
However, the judge kept charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, endangering the welfare of children and corruption of minors. Dischman’s 8-year-old daughter reportedly was in the home when Dischman overdosed.
Dischman spent most of her pregnancy in jail for retail theft, and was released only about five days prior to her overdose.
Dischman is being held in the Butler County Prison on a $500,000 bond.