Prosecutors dismissed a felony child endangerment charge against Melissa Ann Rowland Tuesday, saying they would use allegations of Rowland's drug use during her pregnancy to bolster the murder case against her.

Rowland pleaded innocent to the murder charge on Monday, stemming from prosecutors' claims that she ignored medical advice to undergo an emergency Caesarean section, resulting in the death of one twin.

Rowland, in a yellow jumpsuit and handcuffs, appeared in person before 3rd District Judge Michael Burton but did not speak.

The endangerment charge involved the surviving twin, who has since been adopted. Prosecutors say the baby, who required oxygen and intravenous support after birth, had cocaine and alcohol in her system.

A doctor said Rowland tested positive for cocaine. In an interview Friday, Rowland denied any drug use during pregnancy and said she was never told she required emergency surgery.

Outside the courtroom, Salt Lake County Deputy District Attorney Kent Morgan said the charge was dropped to create "more ease of prosecution" in the pending murder case. He also deflected criticism that the murder charge was an intrusion on Rowland's privacy.

"This is not an abortion case. This is a full-term birth that resulted in a stillborn," he said.

Rowland's boyfriend and father of the twins told investigators that he and Rowland smoked marijuana three weeks before the babies' birth. Court records say Rowland told police that the marijuana cigarette must have been laced with cocaine.

Morgan had said earlier Tuesday that Rowland's alleged drug use would factor in the murder case.

Pregnant drug users are not "showing the type of care and responsibility that we expect of mothers in the United States," Morgan said.

Morgan said an investigation was ongoing into allegations Rowland had attempted to sell her baby in exchange for bail money, but said it was too early to speculate if additional charges would follow. Rowland allegedly told multiple parties that she was pregnant and would turn over her unborn baby if they helped bail her out of jail. In reality, Rowland had given birth more than a month before.

Morgan denied that the case had any bearing on the debate over abortion rights, citing the advanced state of Rowland's pregnancy when she was urged to seek medical attention.

"I don't know of anybody who rationally believes that a baby who has come to term is something a mother can destroy," he said.

Both Morgan and District Attorney David Yocom have denied that politics were at play in the decision to charge Rowland with murder.

The murder charge is possible because of Utah's criminal homicide statute, which covers "an unborn child at any state of development." The law, however, exempts the death of a fetus through abortion.

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Morgan also disputed critics' claims that his office was making an example of a vulnerable, poor woman.

Rowland has been "callous and indifferent not only to her unborn child, but all children she's been in contact with," Morgan said.

Rowland was convicted of child endangerment in 2000 for allegedly punching another daughter in the face after the toddler began to eat a candy bar in a Pennsylvania supermarket without paying for it.

Rowland's court-appointed attorney, Michael Sikora, has declined to discuss the case with the media.

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