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Judge OK denying parole to pregnant addict for baby's sake

In this Oct. 19, 2016 photo, a nurse at Family Guidance Center, an addiction treatment center in Joliet, Ill., holds a syringe used for Vivitrol, a high-priced monthly injection used to prevent relapse in opioid abusers. U.S. prisons are experimenting with the medication, which could help addicted inmates stay off heroin and other opioid drugs after they are released. (AP Photo/Carla K. Johnson)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- An appeals court says a Pennsylvania judge was justified in denying parole to a pregnant addict to safeguard her unborn child from her drug abuse.

A Superior Court panel on Tuesday agreed Lehigh County Judge James Anthony was right to deny parole to Britnee Becker last year.

The 28-year-old Catasaqua woman had argued the judge discriminated against her because she was pregnant by denying her parole after she finished her minimum jail sentence on a theft case probation violation last year.

But the appeals court says the judge was right to consider Becker's unborn child, especially since Becker acknowledged using heroin when she was five months pregnant. She was arrested for the violation in May 2016.

The court says that denying Becker parole "ensured Becker could not use heroin and harm her unborn child."

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