Friday, February 20th, 2009

A bill introduced in the Tennessee legislature would mandate drug and alcohol testing for any pregnant woman who meets one or more of the following criteria:

(1) No prenatal care;
(2) Late prenatal care after twenty-four (24) weeks gestation;
(3) Incomplete prenatal care;
(4) Abruptio placentae;
(5) Intrauterine fetal death;
(6) Preterm labor of no obvious cause;
(7) Intrauterine growth retardation of no obvious cause;
(8) Previously known alcohol or drug abuse; or
(9) Unexplained congenital anomalies.

Any woman who tests positive for alcohol or drugs would then be referred to a mandatory treatment program. If she refuses to be tested, tests positive and refuses treatment, or misses two appointments at treatment, she gets referred to child protective services.

This would be constitutionaly dubious and fairly horrifying if it were only limited to illicit drugs. But I’m fairly certain that isn’t actually illegal to consume alcohol while you’re pregnant. In fact, the “not a drop” approach to alcohol and pregnancy is overblown hysteria.

I have no idea if this bill has a chance of passing. Let’s hope not.

Digg it |  reddit | |  Fark

62 Responses to “Wow.”

  1. #1 |  Waste | 

    I’ve been thinking of something like this for awhile. But I think it should be random testing of politicians prior to voting for a bill.

  2. #2 |  John | 

    Mr. Balko, are you saying that protecting unborn children from abusive and/or neglectful parents is not a legitimate function of the state?

  3. #3 |  Andrew | 

    As for alcohol during pregnancy, my wife (28.5 weeks pregnant at this point) has told me that it didn’t matter, since even the thought of drinking alcohol makes her queasy.

    I dunno. I’m torn here. On the one hand, this seems to overreach. On the other hand, it’s not taking the kid away from her, and not throwing her in prison. I think there is a place for this kind of law, but that law as it stands is way too overbroad, especially when it comes to prenatal care and alcohol.

  4. #4 |  Nick T | 

    John, no he’s not saying that.

    Are you running for office? You’re almost there, just try to make a little less sense.

  5. #5 |  Radley Balko | 

    Mr. Balko, are you saying that protecting unborn children from abusive and/or neglectful parents is not a legitimate function of the state?

    Not in this post. I’m saying drug tests and mandatory treatment–even for alcohol, which isn’t illegal–for symptoms that could have dozens of other explanations is an invasion of privacy and a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

    As for your more general question, I’m generally pro-life, but it’s sorta’ hard to argue for these sorts of laws if abortion is going to be legal. It doesn’t make sense to tell pregnant women that they’re allowed to kill their fetus, but they aren’t allowed to harm it.

  6. #6 |  jwk | 

    The Republicans are in charge (theoretically – that’s a whole other story). I think this will get serious consideration – even if it doesn’t pass. We have a lot of zealots down here and I would not classify our legislators at the brightest bulbs in the pack.

    It’s a scary thought – I don’t do drugs, don’t drink much (less than one drink a week) – but would hate to think that just because I would go into early labor, I would be tested for drugs and alcohol. And, if I refuse, get tested anyway and probably have child protective services haunt me for the next 18 years.

    Newsflash – women go into early labor, have still births and placentas separate from the uterine wall – for reasons that have nothing to do with the use of drugs or alcohol.

    Hopefully, some saner heads will prevail. Unfortunately we have no doctors on the hill, just a bunch of overly religious, do-gooders with an inflated sense of ego and thoughts that they actually know what is best for me. Hopefully, our Governor will veto this, should it cross his desk.

  7. #7 |  Aresen | 

    Whatever the government says it will do for you, it winds up doing TO you.” – Libertarian proverb.

  8. #8 |  Rhayader | 

    Radley is dead-on: this would be an egregious violation of fourth amendment privacy rights.

    It’s bad enough for employers to go searching through my bodily fluids, but at least that is private enterprise. For the state to start requiring citizens to divulge personal medical information is a scary thought indeed. Without proof that some demonstrable (and illegal) form of abuse is taking place, it’s none of the government’s business.

  9. #9 |  jwk | 

    Comment to “Waste” – before they were all indicted/sentenced to federal prison and voted out of office – MOST of our legislators would have failed the alcohol blood test.

  10. #10 |  john | 

    I’m not sure how alcohol testing would work…are there alcohol tests that work more than a day after you consume it?

  11. #11 |  Brandon Bowers | 

    My sister just had a baby a few days ago, and she’s been through quite enough without having to worry about the state inspecting the contents of her urine. And John, that “oversimplifying and then massively overstating the opposing argument” tact just makes you seem like a jackass. Any parent “referred” to CPS is presumed guilty, and while the state ideally would be a legitimate protector of young and unborn children, history has shown the state to be irrational and incompetent. So it’s a tough question that can’t be boiled down to “if you don’t believe in this law, you must hate children and want them to be abused and neglected.”

  12. #12 |  Zero | 

    #1 Waste
    The only problem that I see with your suggestion is what do we test the politicians for? Drugs and alcohol would be the obvious thing given the subject of this blog entry. However I would advocate for reading comprehension and basic logic. Anyone else have a suggestion?

  13. #13 |  Eric | 

    What a nightmare. Each of (5) Intrauterine fetal death (which includes stillbirth), (6) Preterm labor of no obvious cause, and (7) Intrauterine growth retardation of no obvious cause bring would-be parents untold anguish and stress. I can’t imagine a doctor saying “I’m sorry, your baby has died and we don’t know why. Now you must give us a blood sample because we want to see if this was your fault.” Just the suggestion would be offensive to most parents who have just lost their baby, and I have to believe that the positive results coming back would be minimal.

    And how is “incomplete prenatal care” defined? What about my cousin (a Ph.D in a science field) who went with a “natural” prenatal routine that included no ultrasounds, no inorganic drugs, home examinations and delivery, etc.? Is that incomplete prenatal care?

    To John’s point, equating the reach and invasiveness of this law to “protecting unborn children form abusive and/or neglectful parents” is like [some kind of really good analogy that points out the absurdity of that].

  14. #14 |  Bronwyn | 

    There are dozens, if not hundreds, of causes of 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9.

    Many women in this country, by choice or by circumstance, fall under 1, 2, and 3. Many of them experience troubles enough from our government because of their choice to birth unassisted at home.

    The definition of 8 is so squishy as to be meaningless.

    The assumption that such mothers are likely to present a danger to their children is beyond ludicrous.

  15. #15 |  Bronwyn | 

    Eric, to your first point, most mothers in these situations are already questioning their own guilt. Adding government suspicion to that is abusive.

  16. #16 |  Zeb | 

    If you (or your insurance company or whatever) is paying a doctor/hospital to provide you a service, they have no right to do what the state tells them to do for/to you without your permission.

    While I think that there are some circumstances where it is appropriate for someone’s children to be taken away, the bar needs to be extremely high and there needs to be some demonstrable harm done.

  17. #17 |  Bronwyn | 

    Brandon, congratulations to your family!


  18. #18 |  Hannah | 

    That type of thing is pretty freaking scary. I didn’t see a doctor until I was 6 months pregnant due to various reasons. I’ve know people who didn’t get professional care until their 8th month due to their work. And who’s going to determine what “previously known alcohol or drug abuse” is? I ended up having an argument with my doctor because I would have 1 drink during the weekends. She started lecturing me on the health risks to drinking until I started flinging back research studies showing that drinking in moderation has actually shown health benefits. Its drinking in excess that causes problems. Why should we be forced to take another test because some sort of idiot in Tennessee wants to remove another piece of the 4th amendment?

    I have to admit Radley its really nice to come across another Pro-lifer. I’ve never understood how people can say its ok to kill the child, but not abuse it.

  19. #19 |  Nick T | 

    This bill is also alarming because it seems to be factually misguided. Not that using drugs while pregnant is good or harmless, but the costs are children have been greatly overblown. Just think of the “crack-baby” debacle.

    Fetal alcohol syndrome has been shown to miss kids whose mothers consumed large quantities of alcohol and strike kids whose mothers consume very little. I regularly see cases of children born with cocaine, marijuana or even heroine in their systems and nearly all of them are completely “on track” within 6 months or as school age children show no signs of delays or problems.

    Chalk this one up to another bill passed after a 1 in 10,000 occurrence that makes sure to intrude upon the other 9,999 cases.

  20. #20 |  Waste | 


    Test for both. As for your second suggestion I would take it further. No politician could vote on any bill that they had not personally read in its entirety. No bill could be introduced except those that they had personally written. No more having their staff and lobbyists write it for them.

    Add in that their pay is an hourly rate. No OT allowed unless they are called back in by the President or whomever can recall Congress.

    I’ve got a whole list of things but also know how unlikely any of them are to happen. Congress is the biggest scam in this country I can think of.

    ~ Rant mode off ~

  21. #21 |  Highway | 

    OMG, like Bronwyn said, 4,5,6,7, and 9 are all things that are already horrors to expectant *couples* (not just mothers, please). The crushing loss of a pregnancy is world-shaking. To then have the state coming along with a presumption of guilt, where you have to prove you’re innocent, is thoroughly unconscionable.

  22. #22 |  Tom Sullivan | 

    At the root here is the question of whether a child belongs to the parents or the state. The sense I get from all this “it’s for the children” legislation is that all children are property of the state and the parents are just vessels for their creation and day to day supervision, with the goal of the child providing some benefit to the state once they grow up (read: taxes/servitude). And God forbid the parents do something with state property that the state doesn’t sanction. No commentary on the benefits of prenatal care or the stupidity of heavy drug usage during pregnancy is implied here, just that it’s simply repulsive to me for the state to imply they have this kind of authority.

  23. #23 |  jet | 

    To: #16 | Zeb

    I’m assuming that the wording of this would be probably be another one of those “do it voluntarily or ELSE!” kinds of things we’ve been seeing so much of lately. Because, obviously, if you don’t submit to a gross and insensitive invasion of your privacy after having a per-term baby or losing your baby, you have something to hide. Maybe they need to just start posting SWAT teams on the OB floor of hospitals. I would probably save time.

  24. #24 |  Rhayader | 

    @John: No, not really; alcohol tests can only detect recent use. Of course the same is true for almost any drug other than pot.

    “Drug” testing catches two types of people: those who smoke pot, and those who can’t stay off the hard stuff for a single day.

  25. #25 |  Anonymous | 

    My interpretation (I am an attorney licensed in TN) of this bill is not that caregivers have a reporting obligation for missing two drug treatment sessions, but for missing two prenatal care appointments. Let that sink in.

    “Every physician, surgeon or other person permitted by law to attend a pregnant woman during gestation shall report each woman who . . . who misses two (2) or more appointments to the department of children’s services.” See Sec. 2(f). Because the bill refers explicitly to those who provide care to pregnant women, it would seem that it is referring to appointments for prenatal care.

  26. #26 |  More Commentary on the Drug Tests for Pregnant Women Bill in Tennessee « Women’s Health News | 

    […] Comments The Agitator »… on About This, I Have Some C…Anne on About This, I Have Some C…TennZen on […]

  27. #27 |  Bronwyn | 

    Highway, I didn’t intend to exclude daddies… I was referring more to the guilt than the horror. It’s a struggle for me not to ask “what did I do wrong?!?” when thinking about the relatively minor problems facing my children.

    I (thankfully) can only imagine the amplification of my guilt in the face of anything worse.

    Perhaps I’m wrong to think that guilty feelings are the sole province of mothers, though…

  28. #28 |  anon | 

    I watched this crazy TV program this weekend on Discovery: I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant. For one reason or another (were told they were infertile, antibiotics decreased the effectiveness of the pill, etc) and gave birth in total shock. The program interviewed the women’s family and none of them thought they were pregnant either – many of them lost weight during the pregnancy, had no cravings, no morning sickness. Some of them had been pregnant before and didn’t realize they were carrying a baby this time. The babies were fine in the end.

    But yea! Jail time for the ladies! Time to count the prenatal vitamins to make sure they were all consumed!

  29. #29 |  Just Call Me “Tennessee Brood Mare” « Tiny Cat Pants | 

    […] yet again to add: Rachel made RADLEY FUCKING BALKO’S blog and I died of jealousy.  Um.  I mean, even the libertarians have been alerted to […]

  30. #30 |  Mary | 

    Radley, I’m curious about your “generally, I’m pro-life” statement. Kinda iffy. Care to expound? Isn’t that like being a little bit pregnant?

    I have read your columns about abortion rights being returned to the state if Roe is overturned, and also pharmacists not being forced to dispense morning after pills. I consider those issues separate and distinct from abortion rights (federalism, capitalism, etc.) FWIW, I completely agree.

    So, why the ambiguity? You could just as easily call yourself “generally, pro-choice”. Still meaningless.

  31. #31 |  Ganja Blue | 

    I know I’m stepping on the third rail here but even heavy use of cannabis by pregnant women does not harm the fetus. In fact in this study Ganja Babies actually faired better, although the increase was attributed to socioeconomic factors.


    Medical marijuana is amazingly safe and effective at treating hyperemesis, severe morning sickness.

    Pregnant women are extremely limited in the medications they can take. Safe and effective medical marijuana should be made available to them. This bill is certainly a step backward from science.

  32. #32 |  Bob | 

    So… basically… and I’m reading between the lines here…

    This is a religion induced baby grab designed to transfer infants to ‘good christian parents’ who can’t conceive.

  33. #33 |  Rhayader | 

    @Mary: I would consider myself to be “generally pro-life” too, but I don’t think it’s meaningless. While I support the legal rights of others and the scientific facts about what a fetus is, and I have no religious inclinations whatsoever, I would have a very hard time advising a woman close to me to abort. I certainly would not be in favor of the abortion of a fetus to which I am the father.

    I am not speaking for Radley, obviously, but I think there can be real meaning to a term like “generally pro-life”. You can have personal feelings about an issue and separate ideas about what the laws regarding it should be.

  34. #34 |  MacK | 

    So how does a cab driver file a report for the Abruptio placentae?

    I would like for the state to test my grandparents, and parents immediately, well not my mother she was the only one even born in a hospital.

    How the hell do the the billions of currently living people continue life with no medical care prior to, during or after birth?

    Will this escalate to include parents, of children later determined to have other defects like blindness, deafness, tourettes syndrome, addhddadaddda (sorry was not paying attention), autism, diabetes, cleft pallets, lazy eye, geographical tongue, no sense of humor?

    When will the madness end?

  35. #35 |  Radley Balko | 

    Radley, I’m curious about your “generally, I’m pro-life” statement. Kinda iffy. Care to expound? Isn’t that like being a little bit pregnant?

    I’m opposed to abortion, though much less so in the very early stages of a pregnancy than the latter stages. I think a fetus accumulates more human rights as it becomes increasingly human. I don’t support a federal ban on abortion, but I do think states and (preferably) municipal and county governments should be allowed to ban the procedure.

    All else being equal, I’d choose to live in a jurisdiction that banned abortion. But all things aren’t equal, and I doubt abortion laws would ever factor in to where I choose to live.

    In other words, I think abortion is icky and usually immoral. But it isn’t that important of an issue for me. And I don’t agree with many of the positions taken by the pro-life movement. So calling myself “pro-life” without a modifier probably wouldn’t accurately convey my position.

  36. #36 |  Highway | 

    Bronwyn, no offense was meant and none was taken by me. But yes, fathers do feel some of the same guilt and shock and ‘what could I have done differently?’ There’s also a protection instinct that when The State comes along and accuses your loved one of doing this that kicks in. That’s the direction I was coming from.

  37. #37 |  chance | 

    The one drop prohibition may indeed be hysteria, but since I have more than one relative who I believe has FAS, I think we need to be very careful not to imply that alcohol is hunky dory in pregnacy.

  38. #38 |  Mark Z. | 


    I tend to agree with you on abortion, with the caveat that abortion bans (such as exist in much of Latin America) end up causing severe harm in the form of illegal, improvised abortion. The medical literature on this describes various bad things. One study estimated that 2% of all women of childbearing age are sterile because of complications of self-induced abortion. Hemorrhage is almost guaranteed; this is usually done later in pregnancy than legal abortion and the placental blood supply is rich. (This also makes it more morally troublesome, for those of us who care about this.) Peritonitis and gangrene are common.

    If I were hardcore “abortion is murder” pro-life I wouldn’t worry so much about that (enforcing laws against murder no doubt causes some incidental harm also but it’s murder, we can’t just let it pass), but I’m not, so I’m free to be realistic about it. Some pregnant women who don’t think they can afford the hardship of pregnancy and childbirth will seek abortion, legal or otherwise. In the interest of preventing further misery, I think it’s important for it to be legal.

  39. #39 |  Rhayader | 

    @Ganja Blue: Word. Pot is harmless compared to, well, pretty much any other substance.

    That said though, I think in general the medical pot movement can obscure (if not distort) some of the truths about marijuana. The fact is that people should be allowed to smoke pot, whether it’s for medicinal use or just for plain old fun.

    I’m obviously not against medical use, but I am wary of the idea that medicinal use is OK, but recreational use is a crime.

  40. #40 |  BamBam | 

    Gotta make sure the future taxpayers are taken care of by their true parents, THE STATE! With all of the bailouts in the works, THE STATE needs to control as many fetuses as possible so that the child can be brainwashed into being an obedient lackey of THE STATE.

  41. #41 |  Mike | 

    “As for your more general question, I’m generally pro-life, but it’s sorta’ hard to argue for these sorts of laws if abortion is going to be legal. It doesn’t make sense to tell pregnant women that they’re allowed to kill their fetus, but they aren’t allowed to harm it.”

    I would be against this law as it is too invasive but, isn’t this analogous to Cruel and Unusual punishment prohibitions? The state is allowed to kill you but isn’t allowed to beat you over the head until you have brain damage.

    I’m also sortof between pro-life and pro-choice myself. Personally I’d say there is always some risk of death/impairment in carrying a pregnancy to term. I’d say it is a slight risk but still that makes it a medical decision in my mind, and am not comfortable making life/death decisions for somebody else. So am against most anti-abortion laws. Morally though terminating a 8 mo old fetus to avoid a 0.02% chance of death is pretty onerous to me.

    Intentionally engaging in very risky behaviour that is known to cause damage to the fetus with no benefits to the mother does seem like something that could be regulated against, but I don’t think that is the case here at all.

    So in summary I theoretically wouldn’t agree that since the mother has a right to terminate the pregnancy she also has the right to do whatever she wants to the fetus, I just can’t think of a real law that would work in that situation.

  42. #42 |  Scott | 

    The Tennessee legislature should be kicked in their throats. The only agency I fear more than the IRS is DCFS.

    Having become a first-time Dad in the last few weeks I am shocked at how many things can go wrong in a pregnancy even when the Mom is in perfect health and is near-religious in her attention to diet, exercise and just plain doing everything right.

    We had one pre-term labor scare and a beautiful baby born with a host of unexplained congenital defects that have, so far, required one brain surgery and, potentially, several more before he sees his first birthday. That any group of politicians would enable some bureaucratic goon to poke through our behavior over the term of the pregnancy with an eye toward stealing my child is infuriating (but, sadly, not at all surprising).

    The list of conditions that would allow the goons to undertake this are so vague as to essentially mean that anything found to be outside the norm during a pregnancy would open the doors for DCFS mouthbreathers to start asking questions. For example, define “incomplete prenatal care”. “Incomplete” as determined by whom? The agency that stands to increase its budget through increased seizures of peoples’ children?

    No thanks.

  43. #43 |  NAB | 

    “Morally though terminating a 8 mo old fetus to avoid a 0.02% chance of death is pretty onerous to me.”

    These are the types of statements that drive me insane. Does anyone seriously believe people are out there doing that? There’s this notion that women do this lightly or forget to go to the clinic til they’re 7 months along. It just isn’t true.

    And the problem with having ANY type of regulations regarding how pregnant women take care of themselves is that they’re one step away from declaring a fetus a person and it’s just not. Once we say the fetus has a right to gestate in an alcohol- and drug-free incubator, there’s no end to the rights it can have. What’s to stop us from actively arresting pregnant women with a glass of wine in their hand if we take these sorts of measures? Or from fetuses suing their mother’s for not remaining alcohol free during their pregnancy? Or fetuses drawing welfare?

  44. #44 |  Lorraine Sumrall | 

    Lord, don’t tell Steven Hayne about all this because he’ll be packing up the U-Haul headed ninety to nothing for the Volunteer state!

  45. #45 |  Zargon | 

    It seems some people are under the delusion that they are not the property of the state. I’m pleased to see the state is taking steps towards rectifying this problem.

  46. #46 |  Bronwyn | 

    Scott, I will keep your son in my thoughts.

    I’m looking at a far more routine surgery for my 4 mo son, and it has me terrified. I can only imagine your anxiety.

  47. #47 |  Frank | 

    What I want to do is call one of the good Senator’s staffers and ask him what’s it like to work for a complete douche nozzle. What is it with these people, anyway?

  48. #48 |  Cliff | 

    >>>>>I would be against this law as it is too invasive but, isn’t this analogous to Cruel and Unusual punishment prohibitions? The state is allowed to kill you but isn’t allowed to beat you over the head until you have brain damage. <<<<<

    Yeah cause it’s cruel to hang someone, or tar and feather them, but it’s fine to vacuum you out of the womb.

  49. #49 |  Nick T | 


    Ya suppose the role government plays in those things you mentioned makes a difference in the overall equation?

  50. #50 |  Paul | 

    This is what universal health care looks like.

    Can’t hardly wait.

  51. #51 |  Mike | 

    NAB, I certainly don’t think people undertake the decision lightly I brought up that example just as the worst case it is still a medical decision with potential consequences either way and something the state shouldnt’ be involved in.

    The debate when a fetus turns into a person seems somewhat irrelevant in my view. You are in control of your body and if another person happens to be living inside of it you have the right to remove them. I agree with that. However I don’t think that somehow a fetus magically becomes a person the exact second it leaves the womb. There seems like plenty of room for debate there but that is really a religious issue and also is something the state shouldn’t be getting involved with.

    I’m not sure as I would go so far as saying ANY regulations involving how a pregnant woman takes care of herself are inherently wrong, but it would have to be something involving willful and intentional harm. Some disgusting situation where say where you intentionally perform some cultural genital mutilation on a fetus because you know its against the law todo that after they are born doesn’t seem like it’s against any current law but could be regulated.

  52. #52 |  Cynical In CA | 

    “… protecting unborn children from abusive and/or neglectful parents is not a legitimate function of the state?”

    This is an easy one. There are NO legitimate functions of the State. The State is illegitimate.

    “All else being equal, I’d choose to live in a jurisdiction that banned abortion.”

    That kind of statement confuses me. How does this square with liberty? Wouldn’t it be more appropriate from a liberty-perspective to live in an area where all women agreed voluntarily to not have abortions?

  53. #53 |  Pinandpuller | 

    So what about cojoined twins where one is an alchoholic and one’s a teetotaler?

  54. #54 |  Cliff | 

    @ Nick

    You’re right…my comment was pretty much off-topic in this thread. I got emotional. Sorry.

    As far as the actual topic goes… Bad parents are bad parents. We don’t get to choose them, but the quality of your parents makes a huge difference in shaping the kind of life you will experience. Expecting that Government can step in and rescue children from every miserable excuse for a parent is doomed to fail.
    This law basically mandates professional medical pre-natal care or else you get put into the legal system to be tested…or worse.

    This is one of those scary examples where opposing the law makes you look like an inhuman, uncaring monster (think of the poor children), but accepting the law is one more giant leap forward for The State. Bad news.

  55. #55 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “This is one of those scary examples where opposing the law makes you look like an inhuman, uncaring monster (think of the poor children), but accepting the law is one more giant leap forward for The State. Bad news.”

    H.L. Mencken wrote, “The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. “

  56. #56 |  John | 

    Hannah wrote:

    I’ve never understood how people can say its ok to kill the child, but not abuse it.

    It would be consistent with the notion that it is okay for the state to execute people, but not torture them.

    But yes, it would be inconsistent of a pro-choicer to hold that an unborn child is a human life, and it is okay to kill that human life, but not abuse it.

  57. #57 |  Michael | 


    IV alcohol was used to stop premature labor, (saw it used way back in 1978) so it should not happen as a result of alcohol consumption.

    What makes me crazy is that medical professionals can never be 100% sure of their diagnoses! How in the hell does the government think they are any smarter than well trained doctors? Such arrogant behavior would result in many more women being screwed over, just a little bit more. So much for freedom!

    But, does anyone know about late term abortion? If it were not happening, the term would never be used. It also has been referred to as “partial birth abortion” Saying the child can be born sort of makes it hard for me to fathom, to begin with. I was going to describe in in another post, the other day, and I had to stop and edit out the graphic parts. I could not even put it into words, it was so grotesque. Tearing a baby apart that is already “partially delivered” (half born)? I remember that when this came up in Congress, the members threw a fit that a video, of the procedure, was shown. It enraged them. It should have. The video that is.

    It was in an argument with a vegetarian and tree hugger. I am a nasty meat eater. Can’t see why butchering an animal is not OK, when grotesquely doing it to a, mostly grown, pre-term infant is OK to a lot of them! People need to realize!

  58. #58 |  meeneecat | 

    I don’t understand how anyone can call themselves a Libertarian (to those here who would call themselves a Libertarian), and still think that abortion should be made illegal. I’m all for federalism, but I don’t care whether it’s the state or the feds, neither should be invading people’s medical privacy. Nor to I need the government telling me which religion’s definition of “life” I should believe in (the Jewish definition is different from the Christian one; a fetus’ life is only considered equal to a full human once it’s head is outside the womb…and of course if you are atheist, well then forget it, your beliefs simply don’t count!).

    Obviously, it’s easy to see why libertarians would have a problem with this bill regarding drug testing of pregnant women. It’s invasive, and it’s just another example of how the drug war, ahem, war on American citizens, destroys freedom…However it’s difficult for me to understand a libertarian that opposes laws like this, while at the same time isn’t opposed to other (medically) invasive laws; i.e. laws banning abortion… As another commenter already pointed out, in countries that prohibit abortion, women are forced into an unsafe and harmful black market…in other words, just because something is made illegal doesn’t mean it will just go away…hmmm sound familiar?

    And for the anti-abortion “libertarians”…how do you think the government should we deal with all these women that will be inevitably seeking “black market” abortions once abortion is banned…if abortion is murder, will they be charged with murder? Or should we just arrest them and imprison them along with all the pot smokers and drug users?

    Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.”
    Source: National platform adopted at Denver Libertarian Party Convention May 30, 2008

  59. #59 |  Cliff | 

    >>>>>And for the anti-abortion “libertarians”…how do you think the government should we deal with all these women that will be inevitably seeking “black market” abortions once abortion is banned…if abortion is murder, will they be charged with murder? Or should we just arrest them and imprison them along with all the pot smokers and drug users?<<<<<<<

    Fine. But, do not categorize anti-abortion libertarians as wanting government intervention.

    I’m totally and completely against abortion, but that does NOT mean I want the government to legislate against it. It means I want people to come to the position on their own based on the merits of the arguments. If they can’t be convinced then either the arguments are not as strong or convincing as I think they are or they simply have a radically different view for the world and won’t be convinced. The paragraph from the Denver platform is right on.

  60. #60 |  meeneecat | 

    Cliff, I agree with what you say, I also think the statement given at the convention is right one, so please don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with Libertarians who are anti-abortion for themselves (i.e. they wouldn’t have abortions personally, but are also against state intervention)…But Balko stated in one of his previous comments that he thinks states should be allowed to place bans on the procedure, which, to me implies that he is okay with state interference. All I’m saying, and the reason I put libertarian in quotes, is because I feel that having a position of being in favor of state intervention, is against libertarian principles…especially given that various religions have differing beliefs regarding abortion and the definition of life…which would also bring into question the issue of religious freedom as well.

    Regarding what Balko said, I think a more libertarian response would have be “I’d prefer to live in a state where abortion was not available” implying that the reason for this would be because there was no demand for abortion. In a free market, if there is no demand for abortions, there would logically be no abortion services. One thing we are sure of, is that banning something will not magically make it go away. All is does is push demand underground creating instead, a black market…in the case of abortion, In countries that have abortion bans, these bans have given way to a black market where abortofacient drugs such as misoprostol and mifepristone are bought and sold.

  61. #61 |  Z | 

    Ahhh small government republicans.

  62. #62 |  aerie | 

    meeneecat stated: …”and of course if you are atheist, well then forget it, your beliefs simply don’t count!.”

    Yes, of course, because the atheists want to kill or abort ALL the babies and children, right? What an ignorant statement.

    Atheists are NOT inherently immoral people. They believe in being moral because as a human being it’s the right thing to do, not because of a fear in a make-believe hell.