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Tennessee Arrests First Mother Under Its New Pregnancy Criminalization Law


US Politics & Gov't  (tags: healthcare, health, women, protection, prevention, government, healthcare, news, politics, usa, ethics )

Cal
- 197 days ago - thinkprogress.org
The new law allows the state to criminally charge mothers for potentially causing harm to their fetuses by using drugs.



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Comments

Jeaneen A. (156)
Monday July 14, 2014, 7:10 am
Personally I am not really against a law like this. When a woman becomes pregnant she has a duty to do what is best for the baby. My niece's daughter was born cocaine addicted what hell that poor baby went through when they started her withdrawal. The doctor were not sure she would survive. She was a pro to illness. Even over the counter drugs can harm a baby. Alcohol is the same. When pregnant you have to stop all drugs and alcohol, even cigarettes if you want a healthy baby.
 

Linda Rust (70)
Monday July 14, 2014, 7:23 am
I'm an avid supporter of womens rights and a woman's right to make her own medical decisions. But as a thinking human being who happens to be a mother herself, I have to wonder about the mindset of a woman who would smoke meth "a few days before giving birth'. Is she ready to make the sacrifices it takes to be a parent? It is a "slippery slope." But there are so many children neglected and abused in our society, and often, drug use is involved in those situations. I know the knee-jerk reaction for progressives is to condemn this kind of government infringement on personal freedom and a women's right--but I'll admit I have mixed feelings about this case. Maybe the law will bring a little more scrutiny to this individual's behavior--but that could be a good thing for the baby involved?
 

Allan Yorkowitz (448)
Monday July 14, 2014, 9:20 am
I have no problem with this law.
 

Fabian Schaider (0)
Monday July 14, 2014, 9:48 am
fd
 

Fabian Schaider (0)
Monday July 14, 2014, 9:51 am
signed
 

Fabian Schaider (0)
Monday July 14, 2014, 9:52 am
signed
 

Ashley heffner (458)
Monday July 14, 2014, 11:13 am
It's a little late to ask if she ready to be a mother, when she's already pregnant, unless she's having an abortion. Now you could make the argument she might be an unfit mother and put the child into the adoption system. But jailing her solves what exactly? She obviously isn't going to be able to fully care for the child while she is in jail and the kid will just be put in the adoption/foster care system anyway.

But alright, I understand drugs are bad. No one wants a pregnant woman to consume them. But why in the United States, does a woman no longer become a free human when she is pregnant anymore? Why do we become an incubator, a complete slave? In this case it was drugs. In the next case, it might be jailing or fining the woman for not taking her pregnancy vitamins, eating right, or if she works too much (cause stress is bad for the baby.) Where is the line drawn? Shall we just chain every pregnant woman down to a hospital bed for nine months?
 

Bojan Kunstelj (22)
Monday July 14, 2014, 11:35 am
yap
 

Linda Rust (70)
Monday July 14, 2014, 11:37 am
Hi Ashley, I don't think anybody wants to think of a pregnant woman as merely an "incubator", or a "slave" to her pregnancy. But surely children have rights too, and those rights have to be protected by society when they are to young to advocate for themselves. As I said above, I can definitely see the "slippery slope" involved. But my common sense tells me that putting the best interests of the child first is probably a good place to start. A newborn baby would have no problem being adopted by a loving family who truly wants a child. I know there's probably a lot of factors that are involved in the personal situation of the mother which might explain her making such a choice--but again, who speaks for the child?
 

Ashley heffner (458)
Monday July 14, 2014, 11:42 am
Lol Linda, I"m not saying YOU would do that. But look at some of the laws being passed, mostly by Republicans. I haven't heard of Democrats doing it (but they might be.).

If she's abusing drugs, put her in rehab. I fail to see what putting her in jail is going to do. Put the child into adoptive services or foster care, if she is unfit.

I definitely would NOT feel safe being pregnant in this country anymore. That's just my two cents. I don't use hardcore drugs. But I use caffiene (that stuff that is found in coffee and a lot of soft drinks. That's technically a drug, though not nearly as strong as meth.

But I"m sure a state like Tennessee would find some suitable way to punish me for not "behaving." Maybe they'll jail me for drinking too much mountain dew. It's loaded with caffiene, which in large amounts is also harmful to pregnancy. Of course, if I was pregnant, I'd probably try my best to give it up for the nine months.
 

Heidi Wood (17)
Monday July 14, 2014, 12:21 pm
The epidural should be a part of it then the baby comes out high too.
 

Roberto M. (55)
Monday July 14, 2014, 12:53 pm
This is a completely ridiculous law. What sort of totalitarian country do people want to live in? The Living Breathing woman is a legally recognized human being - with ALL rights granted by the Constitution. The fetus, is at BEST a potential human being. It has ZERO rights under the Constitution. It may NEVER be a human being for any number of reasons. Placing the "rights" of an unborn fetus above those of a legally recognized human being is utter insanity. What new way will people dream of to strip away the rights of others? How far will this sort of insanity go?
Shall we jail pregnant women who drive or even ride in an vehicle? After all, they are putting the fetus at risk of severe injury! Maybe we should jail women for NOT getting pregnant during their child bearing years. After all - they prevented a whole BUNCH of potential human beings from being created.
People are really becoming insane with their willingness to allow the law to restrict the rights of others, based on the most ridiculous of "reasons".
Noted
 

Gene Jacobson (258)
Monday July 14, 2014, 12:57 pm
" However, there’s no scientific evidence that being exposed to illegal drugs in the womb actually causes long-lasting health issues in young children. In fact, studies have found that exposing fetuses to cocaine, meth, and opiates is about as harmful as exposing them to cigarettes."

Wow. I have mixed feelings about this. I think criminal charges are probably not a good idea. But if dependency can be established then treatment, mandated, may be. Yes, we know about the "crack" babies and fetal alcohol syndrome which I think IS established as exceedingly harmful. But I just don't know how you monitor every pregnant woman in the country to be sure she is doing only healthy things for her baby. A drug test after the fact really doesn't do anything to help a baby - testing during pregnancy will more likely keep addicted women from seeking prenatal care than do anything to help ensure a healthy birth. That kind of damage done prenatal can't be undone. I honestly don't know where to come from on this, better health education in our schools? Special offerings during prenatal care? Criminalizing a mother doesn't seem to be helpful to the child unless they are also removing the child from her care if she tests positive and that too is a slippery slope. I want to err on the side of the baby but I don't know how you can craft a law to deal with every possible situation without also having solid scientific evidence as to what is and is not harmful to do during a pregnancy. I mean that could cover the gamut from over eating to drug addiction and there are a lot of things between the two. I mean does a migraine sufferer harm a fetus if she takes strong medication during pregnancy? I don't know. And criminalizing things we don't really have answers to seems a knee jerk overreaction to me. This obviously was NOT a good idea, but is it a one time thing, is she addicted, did she smoke it during the entire pregnancy? I don't see answers to those questions, nor how arresting her now helps during the prior nine months.

My heart goes out to the child, but at birth, the damage, if there is any, is already done - doing something before birth would seem to be more important, but I can't imagine how that would work in a way that would actually help women, fetuses and still ensure they get prenatal care rather than hide with their addiction until birth. This just opens up so many questions beyond the arrest that it is a wonder how the politicians in Tennessee who crafted this law balanced personal freedom with state interest. This certainly brings more questions to the surface than arrest and conviction answer. Does this law also immediately involve Child Protection Services for an in depth look at fitness and what that baby is going home to? Because that certainly seems to be important. And potentially unconstitutionally intrusive.

And further isolates women - who gave her the drug, is that person being charged too? Obviously he/she knew she was pregnant. But then doesn't that open up bartenders and others to charges for giving potentially harmful substances to a pregnant woman. If they can tell she is at all. Very dicey situations just come to mind in myriad ways. There has to be a constitutional challenge here but do we really want the Roberts court deciding this issue?
 

Rhonda B. (115)
Monday July 14, 2014, 2:15 pm
Noted.
 

gabriele jefferson (147)
Monday July 14, 2014, 2:49 pm
noted, shared on fb, twitter, g+, thx.
 

Arielle S. (317)
Tuesday July 15, 2014, 6:34 am
Protect the child, yes, but this has the potential to be so much more than that - soon, pregnant women will be back in seclusion, not allowed out in public. It all feels more about controlling women than saving children - if we cared about saving children, there would be more food stamps, better schools, and less commotion at the border.
 

Ashley heffner (458)
Tuesday July 15, 2014, 8:43 am
I wonder if I looked up Tennessee's rate of poverty, uninsured children, their ranking in public education K-12 for the kiddies, and so on, how well they take care of the kid, AFTER they carted the mother off to jail. Also TN is going to need a lot of resources to monitor every pregnant woman in the state.
 
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