Buchanan County could set a new precedent for child endangerment laws for the state of Missouri. But first, a local judge must decide whether charges against a St. Joseph woman are legitimate. Both sides want to protect children but they don`t see eye to eye. Twenty-seven-year-old Janet Wade of St. Joseph walks out of court after facing charges of endangering her child during pregnancy by using drugs. Prosecutors say Wade`s baby tested postive at birth for methamphetamine and marijuana -- test results doctors are required by law to share with children`s services. While possessing meth and pot is illegal, using them is not. Still, prosecutors believe Wade put her fetus at risk. "In determining whether it`s a viable charge, a judge will have to determine whether this child endangerment statute includes fetuses," Buchanan County Prosecutor Pam Blevins says. Wade`s public defender won`t talk on camera, but submitted a motion to dismiss the case saying the charge is bogus. Now, clarifying legal language is necessary to decide this case. A former juvenile prosecutor agrees. "Missouri law really does need to be clarified. There is a discrepency in the definition of a child in the criminal statutes versus the abuse and neglect statutes. When does a child become a child and require protection under the law?" Suzanne Kissock, current Missouri Western State University legal studies professor, says. One state statute makes it a crime to "knowingly risk the health of a child less than 17 years old." And, the 1986 abortion act says that "life begins at conception." But a second part of the abortion act could help the defense. It spells out that criminal action may not be filed against a mother for "indirectly harming her unborn child by failing to properly care for herself..." Wade`s attorney tells KQ2 that his client harmed herself, not her baby. The baby is said to be fine. "I think it`s ludicrous to think that I would be protected from harming my child in an illegal way by a statute--that that`s what the legislature intended," Blevins says. Another point of contention is that the state`s abuse and neglect law covers a child after birth. There are no abuse provisions for fetuses. The prosecution wants protection for unborn children. The defense argues it wants the same thing, but fears the prosecutor is making a mistake. "The biggest concern is that a mother will not seek help when it`s most important, which is the vital development of the baby. We need the parent to seek help and to know that as a result of their honesty and truthfulness, that it won`t be an imprisonment," Kissock says. Kissock wants mothers to feel safe in asking for medical help. Buchanan County Judge Patrick Robb will have the initial say when he rules on a motion to dismiss the case, but admits this will likely be appealed. Judge Robb hopes to make a decision on whether to dismiss or accept the motion on August 3. If the decision is appealed, it will take about six months.