Wow.

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.

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62 Responses to “Wow.”

  1. #1 |  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.

  2. #2 |  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?

  3. #3 |  Pinandpuller | 

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

  4. #4 |  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.

  5. #5 |  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. “

  6. #6 |  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.

  7. #7 |  Michael | 

    #6

    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!

  8. #8 |  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

  9. #9 |  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.

  10. #10 |  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.

  11. #11 |  Z | 

    Ahhh small government republicans.

  12. #12 |  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.