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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, @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?

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  • (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.