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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 Wednesday May 07 2014, @01:03AM

    by Angry Jesus (182) on Wednesday May 07 2014, @01:03AM (#40390)

    > What's the alternative? Let them keep breeding like rabbits, and then give them more welfare assistance?

    "Breeding like rabbits?" Wow.

    The US birthrate is 1.9 per woman, [] which is less than what's necessary to maintain population levels, the country needs those kids. Making sure they have the opportunities necessary to succeed ought to be a priority. Given that total spending on welfare for children is less than 1% of the budget, [] we can probably afford to do better by them

    But, if your problem is with the rabbits, free access to long-term contraception like IUDs -- as I mentioned in my first post -- ought to suit you just fine.

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  • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday May 07 2014, @01:30PM

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday May 07 2014, @01:30PM (#40515)

    The kids are all being born to the lowest classes. Why should the upper classes care about taking care of kids that aren't theirs? And how do you do that anyway, when the kids are in the custody of the poor, uneducated parents who are going to raise the kids to be just like themselves: poor and uneducated? You can't force people to raise their kids in the way you approve of, and you're not going to magically turn all these kids of uneducated people into doctors and engineers, since the most important factor in a child's education is their parents.

    The way I see it, this country is headed for a big collapse within a generation.

    • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Wednesday May 07 2014, @04:52PM

      by Angry Jesus (182) on Wednesday May 07 2014, @04:52PM (#40592)

      Its like everything you write is simply stating the premise as the conclusion, that poor people suck.

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday May 07 2014, @05:03PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday May 07 2014, @05:03PM (#40593)

        No, only ones who want to have a bunch of kids they can't afford and then expect other people to pay for raising them. That's called "irresponsible" in my book.

        • (Score: 2) by Angry Jesus on Wednesday May 07 2014, @05:10PM

          by Angry Jesus (182) on Wednesday May 07 2014, @05:10PM (#40596)

          And how do you differentiate between those people and all the other poor people?

          Oh yeah, make them pay an extra $4k+ and risk their health in order to prove their worthiness.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @01:32AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @01:32AM (#40781)

      I think we could go nearly a century before collapse. We'll recover too, since the worthless won't survive without help, but that could be 2000 years from now.