The Doctors: New Law To Punish Drug-Addicted Mothers
The Doctors kicked off their show today with a proposed bill in Tennessee. The law says that pregnant moms who use narcotics while pregnant will face time in jail for assault if their baby is born addicted, harmed, or dies from their drug use. Opponents say that criminal prosecution could only make matters worse and delay medical treatment for expectant moms struggling with addiction.
I have to say, I’ve never seen all the doctors so passionate about a new law. Dr. Jim Sears, who is a pediatrician that has worked with drug-addicted babies, said that it’s a terrible thing to see babies hooked on crack cocaine. Dr. Jennifer Ashton said she wasn’t sure how the law is going to work. Biologically, doctors now believe that a fetus becomes an entity separate from the mother at 24 weeks. She wondered if that means before 24 weeks, the fetus is unprotected by this new law.
The Doctors: Should Women Be Punished For Drinking While Pregnant?
Dr. Rachael Ross, in a moment that I wanted to applaud from my living room, said she thought it was outrageous that this law targets mothers who are addicted to crack. Crack cocaine use is associated with people in lower-income situations who often don’t have access to resources to help them with their addiction.
On the other hand, pregnant mothers who drink are often from a higher income. There’s no legislation in place to punish pregnant moms from drinking. Dr. Rachael Ross clearly defined this as a class issue and thought there should be legislation for alcohol use by mothers.
The Doctors: Why Babies Are Born Addicted To Drugs
Dr. Travis Stork said that different substances taken by a pregnant woman affect the baby in different ways. Alcohol use leads to a baby with long-term memory problems, emotional problems, socialization, and physical development. Stimulants such as crack or cocaine causes low birth weight and poor growth in the womb and children can come out addicted to them. The babies can also have breathing issues after birth.
The Doctors: Where Does Pregnancy Legislation End?
Dr. Jennifer Ashton said she wasn’t sure where this legislation ends. Where do you draw the line? Do you lock a woman up for not wearing a seat belt while pregnant or for smoking cigarettes? Hair coloring is thought to be damaging to fetuses, as well. Do you arrest her for that? Dr. Travis Stork said that an amended version of the bill says that the threat of charges goes away if a woman voluntarily enters an approved treatment program. The program is free to the mother. Dr. Rachael said she agreed with that. It’s not clear though if this is after the baby is born or before.
The Doctors: When To Quit Before Pregnancy
Dr. Jennifer Ashton said that if you’re thinking about getting pregnant, it’s critical that you quit drugs prior to trying to get pregnant. She said that almost 50 percent of pregnancies in this country are unplanned, but that doesn’t mean undesired. If you’re considering getting pregnant, you should consider everything you’re doing to your body to make sure you’re doing what you can to make a good environment for the baby within you.
Leave a Reply