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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: 2) by Angry Jesus on Tuesday May 06 2014, @12:18PM

    by Angry Jesus (182) on Tuesday May 06 2014, @12:18PM (#40118)

    > Below a certain income level, each kid is a net positive financial source.

    Really? What level is that? Because, to me, that sounds like one of those things everybody knows, but nobody has ever proven. Back before "welfare reform" cut-backs, the marginal value of a kid on welfare was $3/day. [fair.org] Even in 1995 dollars, $3 was barely enough to feed the kid.

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  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday May 06 2014, @02:14PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 06 2014, @02:14PM (#40150)

    that's kinda the point... you don't have to feed them if they get free breakfast and free lunch at school, and free food pantry for the occasional meal at home.

    So food and medical are free, donated clothes are free, um, every penny seems to be pure profit?

    "responsibility" is a middle class value, so applying that to another culture is imperialistic, blah blah, just doesn't work. Raising the kid is the .gov's problem, and parent keeps the money, every penny of it.

    The problem is the population contains two groups, civilized contributors suffering from a likely temporary lack of money (or permanent due to tragedy, etc) and an uncivilized group providing nothing other than employment to the social work and prison-industrial complex employees. By definition the former is not going to be acting as described, other than occasional accident or whatever, we're only talking about the behavior of the uncivilized latter group.

    • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Tuesday May 06 2014, @05:06PM

      by Angry Jesus (182) on Tuesday May 06 2014, @05:06PM (#40230)

      > that's kinda the point... you don't have to feed them if they get free breakfast
      > and free lunch at school, and free food pantry for the occasional meal at home.

      So, your contention is that women on welfare will have children so that years later, when they start going to school where there is free breakfast and lunch, they will get to steal the $90/month for themselves? And what actual proof do you have for your claims other than your belief that poor people aren't responsible?

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Tuesday May 06 2014, @05:56PM

        by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 06 2014, @05:56PM (#40246)

        As an inductive experiment, lets assume irresponsibility is inversely correlated with poverty ... I can't go on from here ...

        I think we're going to have to agree to disagree, and with the conclusion of the discussion, have a nice day.

        • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Tuesday May 06 2014, @06:22PM

          by Angry Jesus (182) on Tuesday May 06 2014, @06:22PM (#40260)

          > As an inductive experiment, lets assume irresponsibility is inversely correlated with poverty

          Yes, that seems to be what you have assumed. Poor people are stupid. Man.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06 2014, @06:21PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 06 2014, @06:21PM (#40259)

      a lot of the stuff you're saying seems like its coming straight from fox news. granted, there certainly are people who are nothing but a drain on the system, and actually do have more children just to get more cash assistance from the government - i actually know one of them, and its sickening - but the people like that who actually are nothing but a drain are not a majority, they are just a tiny fraction so small it would be considered a rounding error when taken against the whole population, probably even still when considered against those in poverty (which is half the country according to mitt romney).

      the majority of the poor really are in your first category - civilized contributors stick in a bad situation, often due to there being no jobs. your latter category is more like the mythical "voter fraud" problem, while it does indeed exist and occur from time to time, it doesnt happen enough to be an actual problem, and is more of a scare tactic than anything else.

      posting AC because i havent gone through the whole thread for mod purposes yet.