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posted by n1 on Tuesday May 06 2014, @04:02AM   Printer-friendly
from the Take-Me-to-Another-Land dept.

USA Today reports that Tennessee has become the first state with legislation that will criminally charge women who use drugs while pregnant with assault for harm done to their infants. Tennessee officials have wrestled with what to do about the growing numbers of infants born dependent on drugs (921 in Tennessee in 2013) and who often suffer from a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome. The legislation would allow mothers to avoid criminal charges if they get into one of the state's few treatment programs. Governor Bill Haslam says he wants doctors to encourage women to get into treatment before delivering their babies so they can avoid charges. "The intent of this bill is to give law enforcement and district attorneys a tool to address illicit drug use among pregnant women through treatment programs," says Haslam.

Seventeen states already consider drug use during pregnancy as child abuse and in three of them Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin it is grounds for civil commitment (e.g. forced enrollment in treatment programs). In 15 states, health-care providers are required to report suspected abuse and, in four of those states, they are then also required to test for drug exposure of the child. Eighteen states have treatment programs targeted at pregnant women. Opponents of the bill, including five national medical organizations and local doctors who treat pregnant women, worry that criminalization will scare women away from treatment. "This law separates mothers from their children and is not patient-centered," says Cherisse A. Scott. "Tennessee families who are already being hit the hardest by policies such as the failure to expand Medicaid, poverty and a lack of available drug treatment facilities will be most deeply impacted by this bill."

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by kaszz on Tuesday May 06 2014, @04:44AM

    by kaszz (4211) on Tuesday May 06 2014, @04:44AM (#40031) Journal

    Unless care and control is separated to different clinics this will ruin doctor-patient trust. And it will end with avoided prenatal care.

    As for drug addiction. Perhaps it's time to deal with it using forced treatment and not punishment in general. And also deal with background issues as far as possible.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by BsAtHome on Tuesday May 06 2014, @09:23AM

    by BsAtHome (889) on Tuesday May 06 2014, @09:23AM (#40071)

    You cannot resolve a social problem with rules or forced treatment or, for that matter, punishment. You need to address the problem, not the symptom. And, yes, stigmatize a problem and it will move into the underground and become ever harder to solve.

    If drugs are the problem now, what about obesity, or eating the "wrong" food? Shouldn't that also be classified as "putting your child in danger"? For best child health, you need a balanced social environment. As long as that is not the case, any factor can "put the child on risk". Where will it end? Childfarms?

    • (Score: 1) by mytundra on Tuesday May 06 2014, @12:11PM

      by mytundra (3018) on Tuesday May 06 2014, @12:11PM (#40117)

      Treatment, punishment and stigmatization are how we deal with social problems like rape, robbery, and pedophilia... You might say these are never resolved and believe that environments will cure all ills. But saying the punishment and stigma aren't worth it? Nope.

      • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06 2014, @02:21PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06 2014, @02:21PM (#40152)

        Fuck you.
        Deuteronomy 22 28-29 in hebrew allows pedophile rape of young girls.
        The man keeps the girl and pays the father

        I hope you are killed for your support of the feminist global religion.

        Who the fuck is "WE" by the way?
        It's not me. It's you, the enemy.
        And you should be murdered.