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A mother in South Carolina was sentenced to 20 years in prison this week after her daughter overdosed on morphine while breast feeding.

According to ABC News, Stephanie Green – a 39-year-old former nurse – concealed her pregnancy from doctors in order to keep receiving prescriptions for the pain-killer medication.

The outlet reports:

Greene’s lawyer said she was only trying to stop debilitating pain from a car crash more than a decade before and relied on her own judgment and medical research on the Internet instead of the advice of doctors and is still overwhelmed with grief from the loss of her child.

The 20-year sentence was the minimum after a Spartanburg County jury found Greene guilty of homicide by child abuse Friday. She could have faced up to life behind bars. Greene will have to serve 16 years before she is eligible for parole. She said nothing in court and quietly shuffled out of the courtroom, her hands and feet shackled, after she was sentenced.

Her lawyer said she will appeal and it’s likely the case will be tied up for years to come. Both the prosecutor and Greene’s lawyer agree no mother has ever been prosecuted in the United States for killing her child through a substance transmitted in breast milk. Also, prosecutors didn’t prove how the baby got the morphine and there is little scientific evidence that enough morphine can gather in breast milk to kill an infant, Greene’s lawyer Rauch Wise said.

Stephanie Greene and her husband also share a 7-year-old son, whom he will now have to raise alone. He hasn’t spoken out about her sentencing yet, but the site says he is “devastated”.

The site also reports that she lost her nursing license back in 2004 for trying to get prescription drugs illegally, so this is an issue she has been dealing with for a long time.

We pray for the Greene family during this extremely tough time.


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