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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Prenatal Laws

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Author Topic: Prenatal Laws
Rumored
Neophyte
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http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20060711113704992

I thought Roe v. Wade pretty much established that the government can't cut through a woman's body to get to a fetus. And yet, apparently if a woman declines a c-section, she's guilty of child endangerment.

And if a crack-addicted mother has a stillbirth, she's homicidal.

And if a pregnant woman can't stop smoking, she's a criminal.

How did this happen? How did we let these laws happen? I hadn't even heard about this until it was mentioned on one of my blogs.

Posts: 33 | From: California | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rider
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Roe v. Wade had nothing to do with C-Sections. It has nothing to do with "cut(ting) through a woman's body to get a fetus." What it did have to do with is state's rights to set laws within those states, based upon the will of the populace of that state. The Supreme Court buggered it up making the ruling they did, because they legislated from the bench. That is the issue with Roe v. Wade.

Now, on to your other issues. "If a woman declines a C-Section, she's guilty of child endangerment." Could very well be. If the doctors tell her it is needed, for a valid reason, and harm befalls the baby. I know, there are semantics involved, but when a delivery occurs, it is a baby, not a fetus. She made her decision, now must live with the consequences. It is a fairly benign medical procedure as medical procedures go, and happens all the time safely. One of the problems we have with healthcare in the US is that even if the doctor tells someone the dangers of not following a course of action, such as a C-Section, the doctor can still be sued if the outcome of not following that advice is bad.

"And if a crack-addicted mother has a stillbirth, she's homicidal." Yes, she is. Medical abortions are legal in the US. If someone wants to live that lifestyle, fine, knock yourself out. But don't condemn another human being to the life a crack baby endures. There are options, and both are more humane than condemning a baby to the neurological, social, and withdrawal problems crack babies go through. If it kills the baby, then yes, she should be tried and if found guilty, sentenced. Maybe, just maybe, going to prison and not being able to acquire drugs, will let her turn her life around.

Why is personal responsibility such an affront to you? This website is all about personal responsibility. In your examples above, the mothers want to absolve themselves of responsibility for their actions which are known to cause harm to fetuses. In all examples, the mother could have taken steps to avoid that harm, either by using BC or having an abortion after conception. If she chooses to do neither of those, then she has the responsibility to ensure the health of her baby.

To put it another way, let's say I go out and make the choice to get drunk. In driving home, I plow into a group of kids, and kill one. I know driving drunk is dangerous, and can potentially kill someone. When arrested and charged should I be outraged? Should you support me? Should you be outraged?

Posts: 5 | From: Iowa, USA | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Beppie
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Rider, I think there's a couple of things to remember here: firstly, many women these days are offerred C-sections that they might not really need. I'll have to do a bit of searching to find a reference, but I have definitely read about cases of doctors simply offering a C-section in order to get the birth over by the end of the shift etc. Now, I'm not certain as to how widespread this is, but this trend basically says that women would have to agree any time that her doctor wanted to give her a ceasarian.

And honestly, while I do think that doing drugs while pregnant IF you are planning to carry to term is pretty irresponsible in some cases, it's also important to recognise that women who suffer from drug addictions are often the women who are least likely to have access to proper pre-natal care, let alone the care that they need to kick the habit. Indeed, they often don't have the education and resources necessary to stop themsleves from getting pregnant (not to mention cases in which she may not have been able to consent to sex at all). If people were really interested in making things better for the baby that is eventually born, they'd make sure these health women have those resources available to them, rather than simply concentrating on punishing the mother when it's too late.

Also, as the article points out, this just represents a slipperly slope-- there are risks in everything, whether pregnant or not, or with a young child or not. Will women be charged if she has a miscarriage after walking every day during her pregnancy? As the article mentions, if she skips some vitamins? Honestly, if things keep going this way, we'll be back to the days of "confinement" during pregnancy.

Posts: 2710 | From: Australia | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rider
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Beppie,

You do make some good points, but are off on others. The article in reference states clearly a woman refused a C-section "to save her twins, one of whom died." There are a myriad of reasons a doctor could decide to perform a C-section. Some women even choose to go that route themselves before labor.

I reject your hypothesis that "women who suffer from drug addictions are often the women who are least likely to have access to proper pre-natal care, let alone the care that they need to kick the habit." The help is there. I work in healthcare, and know. Many, if not most, of these people are already on state sponsored healthcare plans. I have had to deal with more than my fair share of drug addicts, and can't think of a single one that isn't on Medicare/Medicaid. The simple fact is, when talking to these women, they enjoy the high more than anything else. They know they are going to lose their children, are sent to rehab, are released, and go out and get high again. And have more kids. On one level they want their kids, to feel loved, but continue to perpetuate the cycle.

It is sad, but don't blame the system. Throwing more money at rehab isn't the answer. It hasn't worked yet, and won't work for the hardened addict. We have proven that. I can see giving someone a second chance, but for the people who continue to re-offend, there is only one answer. Gender segregation in a secluded location, specifically prison. Then, I don't care, give them all the drugs they want as long as they can't get pregnant. That may sound cold, but leaving them in the general population perpetuates crime (prostitution, drugs, violent crimes such as robbery and assault) as well being a drain on healthcare resources for themselves and their children.

I understand the slippery slope principle. But, going the other way, throwing money at the problem, is a slippery slope of its own, one that we have been sliding down for many years. The throwing good money after bad into drug rehab has not worked. According to the US Dept of Health and Human Services Office of Applied Sciences, the number of admissions for treatment increased from 1993 to 2003 by 14%. I know it would be nice to think we can help these people, and "cure" them, but we simply can't, and have proven that time and again. It is folly to follow the same course and expect a different outcome. Another thing to remember is a lesson learned from violent criminals. Just because they can behave themselves in a controlled environment like prison is no indication they can behave themselves when out. What we need is more common sense and less wishful thinking. I don't think it is such a slippery slope to follow medical advice if you don't care enough to get a second and third opinion.

Posts: 5 | From: Iowa, USA | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LilBlueSmurf
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I work in healthcare too and know all about the 'system'. You build the system for its' users. If users are not using the system, you fix the system. There is a difference between being 'there' and being 'acessible'. If the help is not accessible, to everyone, it's not going to be used and then yes, you blame (and fix) the system. What else are you to do? There is a REASON it's not being used, and something tells me "they just like being high" isn't it.

Gender segregation in a secluded location, specifically prison. Then, I don't care, give them all the drugs they want as long as they can't get pregnant. That may sound cold, but leaving them in the general population perpetuates crime (prostitution, drugs, violent crimes such as robbery and assault) as well being a drain on healthcare resources for themselves and their children.

This sounds not only cold, but absolutely disgusting. It makes me sick to my stomach to think people would actually DO this to other people. Is this JUST women, since they're the only ones that can get pregnant? Or men too, because OF COURSE they're not using protection either ...?

Addiction is a healthcare problem just as worthy of the time and money of healthcare professionals/resources of any other disease. It is not a DRAIN on the healthcare system than programs for quitting smoking, or cancer screening or anything else. What kind of healthcare professional are you?

Finally, it is likely that some of our users are addicts themselves or have family/friends that are. I'm sure your ideas of 'locking them up and throwing away the key' would be somewhat offensive. Please keep this in mind next time you post (the whole 'respecting other users' and such ... From the guidelines)

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Nursing is a work of heart!
~ unknown

Posts: 7168 | From: Ontario | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
rider
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LilBlueSmurf,

Thanks for not reading the entire text. I specifically stated "for those who continue to re-offend..." If someone completes rehab and stays clean, there wouldn't be "'locking them up and throwing away the key'".

What kind of a medical person are you to not truly evaluate the course of treatment and change tactics if they aren't working? As for offending other users, it is offensive to me to hear we aren't offering enough help. As stated by me earlier, the number of admissions for treatment have gone up. Have the numbers of addicts gone down? On the contrary, the number of addicts are MORE prevalent and visible now than ever before. It is offensive to me that my tax money is spent sending a single person through rehab multiple times, while the person continues to have more children who are immediately taken away, but suffer health ramifications from their "mother" ingesting drugs while she was pregnant.

If someone truly wants help, I will do all I can to help them. The problem that we currently have is we run people through the mill of rehab when they don't want to quit themselves. We have one agency telling them they have to go to rehab or lose their kids or go to jail. So they go with no intention of staying clean once released. And for the record, I have no problems at all sending MALE offenders to jail as well. Thanks for ASSUMING I was gender bashing and a sexist.

It makes me sick to my stomach that so many people think throwing money at a problem will fix it. It makes me sick to my stomach when I have to treat a kid whose brain was fried by mom doing meth while she was pregnant. It makes me sick to my stomach treating a 1 year old baby that got into mom's stash and has OD'ed. I don't know anyone who has been in healthcare more than a few months who can't see that there are problems with the system if they truly work with addicts. Unless, of course, their job is based upon the continuation of the problem.

Posts: 5 | From: Iowa, USA | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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(Psssssssst, rider? Rein in the snarkitude here, eh? Your approach here isn't conducive to civil conversation, and that's the name of the game here at ST.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LilBlueSmurf
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Member # 1207

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Those who continue to re-offend are just as sick and worthy of help as anyone else. What makes you think you should choose who is worthy of our help?

If we were truely offering enough (effective!) help, the numbers of readmissions would go down, wouldn't they? So i don't see how you think we could possibly be doing enough (and/or doing it right). So by all means, change the programs. I do not think that changing them in the way you're suggesting is going to help.

And for the record, I have no problems at all sending MALE offenders to jail as well. Thanks for ASSUMING I was gender bashing and a sexist.

That was not an assumption on my part, it was a serious question. I'm sorry if you took it as an assumption.

I'm currently working in OB/Gyne as an RN. Really, you're 'preaching to the choir' when it comes to the effects of drug abuse on a family. I know. I've seen it too. I KNOW there are problems but i don't agree that seclusion and prison and stopping programs (saving those tax dollars!) is the answer.

--------------------
Nursing is a work of heart!
~ unknown

Posts: 7168 | From: Ontario | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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