Interesting and Scary Article: “The Criminalization of Bad Mothers”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/magazine/the-criminalization-of-bad-mothers.html?_r=1&hp

After scanning the first few paragraphs, my first thought was “she did meth while pregnant and her baby didn’t survive and she’s going to jail? GOOD.”

Then I kept reading.

This is a very complex and controversial issue and I have just a few things to say:

1) Laws like this one in Alabama and the “personhood” movement in general are terrifying. Obviously, pregnant women shouldn’t be doing drugs and there should be a consequence for such harmful behavior. But the meth user’s fetus had other issues. Who is to say exactly what caused it to die? Who is to say that the fetus’ issues were directly caused by ANYTHING the mother did?

2) And what about the fathers? If they are prosecuting mothers who used drugs while pregnant, are they also prosecuting fathers? If fathers are using drugs near their pregnant partners, isn’t that also causing harm to the fetus?

3) What about alcohol? If a baby in Alabama is born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, do they arrest the mother?

4) I also find it very interesting that in the part about the woman who admitted to smoking marijuana to help her morning sickness, it says her gynecologist warned her she’d get arrested. It doesn’t say her gynecologist warned her she might be hurting her fetus.

5) Where will people stop when it comes to protecting the fetuses in other peoples uteruses? How far will they go?

There are lots of things pregnant women shouldn’t eat or do. If a pregnant woman has a deli sandwich and comes down with listeria and something happens to the fetus, will they go after her?

I had gestational diabetes. I controlled it very well with diet and my baby weighed less than 8 lbs at birth only 3 days before his due date. But he still had a very low glucose level when first tested. That’s dangerous, too! Should they have punished me? Accused me of eating candy and thus endangering my baby?

This nonsense needs to stop. A fetus is not a person and should not have more rights than a woman.

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