In January 2014, the ACLU-NJ filed an amicus brief on behalf of Appellant Y.N. arguing that a pregnant woman’s decision to undergo methadone treatment during her pregnancy is not enough evidence to prove that she abused or neglected her newborn. The brief points out that if the Division of Youth and Family Services is permitted to file charges in these cases, it may have the unintended consequence of deterring women from seeking prenatal treatment. The brief argues that before the state can interfere with a family’s autonomy, it must prove that there are other concerns that factored into their decision that the mother was guilty of abuse and neglect and that it should not be able to impose adverse consequences on someone who is exercising their fundamental right to self-determination.
This case has been argued before the Supreme Court of New Jersey and is awaiting a decision.