A Tennessee House subcommittee killed a bill that would extend a law that punishes pregnant women who take opioids.
The law is set to expire on July 1 of this year.
The law states "a woman may be prosecuted for assault for the illegal use of a narcotic drug while pregnant, if her child is born addicted to or harmed by the narcotic drug".
Despite lawmakers last minute efforts to adjust the bill - adding an amendment that would only charge women who tested positive for drugs after 25 weeks of pregnancy and were not under the care of a doctor - the bill did not pass.
"I really hate to see us throw the baby out with the bathwater..on something that’s working," said sponsor Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver, (R-Lancaster). "It’s been law for 2 years. As we know, it’s nine months on gestation of a child. There is still not enough hardcore evidence to determine the merits of this bill."
“This is a disease, you have to treat it like a disease," she said when she testified in the subcommittee earlier this month. "They don’t need bars, they need healthcare, these girls need help be proactive rather than reactive."
Following lawmakers' decision on Tuesday, Hudson said she feels like the politicians did the right thing.
"It's a win," she said. "I feel like it's good, and now maybe like next session they can come up with a way to actually help these moms and help the babies."
Hudson is hoping the discussion from this bill will pave the way for treatment over punishment.
"Let's help instead of sending them to jail," she added.
Babies born drug-dependent suffer from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), dependent on controlled substances due to their mothers’ drug use during pregnancy.
Almost 1,000 babies were born drug-dependent in Tennessee in 2015.