AZ Law states than drug use in pregnancy is not child abuse - page 3

From the Az Republic 08/23/02 In 10 short days of life, a cuddly bundle of joy with a beautiful name turned into a crinkly bag of death. Anndreah Robertson's death was senseless and outrageous.... Read More

  1. by   live4today
    Originally posted by Anaclaire
    I've got 2 cents to throw in:

    In a perfect world, paper laws would make everything "OK". I sure do wish ours was a perfect world!

    I've taken care of too many babies whose Mom's were cocaine addicts and did cocaine right up to the day of delivery... leading to placental abruptions where the babies bled out and ended up so hypoxic that they had multiple organ failure, cerbral palsy, and severe mental retardation, etc. The cocaine use is very highly correlated with incidence of abruption. The little ones start out life in last place in this rat race we call life... because of the choices their Mom's made.

    Our constitution gaurantees us freedom of speech... to a point. That point comes when the words being said are deemed to "incite a riot". At that point, freedom of speech changes into breaking a law. The riot could cause innocent people to be harmed. It seems to me that a Mom taking cocaine during pregnancy is taking her right to treat her body as she wants past the limit of the law... where her "freedom" is bordering on causing a riot in her womb--- harming a tiny, innocent person.

    I'm in FULL SUPPORT of the woman's RIGHT TO CHOOSE what to do with her fetus WHEN THE CHOICE DEALS WITH ABORTION. I'm not in support of a woman inflicting potentially life threatening harm to her innocent fetus. Even when the babies survive they most often show long term effects with learning disabilities or other deficits. I consider Moms abusing alcohol are in the same boat as the drug abusers--- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is absolutely life shattering to the child.

    I don't believe jail is the answer either. I think a mandatory inpatient setting where they can be observed constantly, fed nutritious meals, given counselling, and given HIV medications if needed, and shown love from strangers called nurses would be a much better idea. After delivery, if Mom wants to return to her old ways and let her baby be raised by family members or foster parents, fine... but she should be highly encouraged... maybe even bribed... to have a tubal ligation or a long term contraceptive administered. Of course all this costs MONEY--- and in that perfect world I yearn for there would be ENOUGH money to house these Moms and care for them appropriately. BIG SIGH!

    So flame me... I'm a big girl... I can take it.:wink2:
    Anaclaire......you are a woman after my own heart! I second everything you wrote....which is basically everything I wrote in my above post regarding this matter. Thank you for the support. :kiss
  2. by   BugRN
    Wow, This is a tough one, but I tend to agree w/ Shay on this. I too have seen too many crack addicted moms who don't give a rats ass for these kids they keep popping out year after year. I spoke in another thread about one christmas doing an emergency c-section on a heroin addict, totally out of control, pulling out IV's, taking off Fetal monitors, screaming at the top of her lungs. This was her ?10th preg. all taken away, all in the system, all being paid for by us. We begged the MD to tie her tubes while she was under anesthesia and end this abuse. Of course he had to refuse, but like Shay said until you see what these poor babies go through... These women lose their rights and should have to pay the consequences! I am against the Gov. making too many laws esp. around a woman's rights, but in these cases, I am sick off hearing " what about the mothers rights....." IMO she lost them when the addiction became her number one priority. Sorry...
  3. by   Motivated, SN
    Thanks for your input everybody. At the risk of getting blasted
    though, I need to make a few points.

    1) Women do not choose to become addicted to drugs.

    2) Women choose to use drugs for the same reasons men do;
    to block out feelings associated with rape, depression,
    anxiety, physical and emotional abuse as children and
    on and on .

    3) Women also choose to become involved in relationships with
    men that often get them started using drugs and keep
    impregnating them.

    4) Yes, women do make the choice to not use birth control.

    5) Yes, women do make the choice to stay in unhealthy
    relationships.

    I am not excusing what they do to their children; but the
    problem is more complex than some of you have made it out to
    be.
    4)
  4. by   Q.
    Motivated, SN:

    You're absolutely correct, women don't choose per se to become addicted, however the use of drugs, alcohol, or any other coping mechanism that is unhealthy, is, in fact, a choice. By virtue of choosing drug and alcohol use to cope, you are in fact, choosing to risk addiction - and everything else that goes with it. Addiction, while a disease, is still no excuse for it. Just like any other disease, like heart disease, etc, lifestyle choices LED UP to the ultimate state. Also choosing to continue on that path, and choosing not to seek help, are again, choices that the individual makes. There is a very fine line between choice and addictions; we must not get confused.

    The reasons for addictions are incidental and in my opinion, not pertinent whatsoever.

    The problems women face can be "complex" as you say, but most boil down to one thing: personal responsibility and valuing of life. The crack-whores that Shay and I have seen, taken care of, been spit on by and bitten, are those that have made choices and probably are in abusive relationships, yes, but most of them don't value human life, whether it's mine, their own, and certainly not their baby's. The cycle will only continue if she is allowed to propagate.

    Before we had technology and NICU's, these infants died and these women died in childbirth or from some other infectious disease. That is called natural selection, which then allows her stupidity, ignorance and filth to not continue to infest our society. I may sound harsh, but really, I am a realist. I am pro-choice, pro-woman, pro-nursing, and pro-children. I am empathetic towards women trapped in abusive situations. I am accustomed to and familiar with the (still) submissive mentality that women are socialized to. But crack-whores like the one above are NOT women, in my mind. They lost that title long after the 10th child and her first year of shootin' heroin.
  5. by   Swiftee
    Wow! Hot topic!

    I've read each and every word of the whole discussion, and I feel that everyone had some very strong points, and I agree with at least 1 statement in each post. Here are my thoughts.

    1) I haven't seen the things you guys have seen, and a part of me hopes I never will, but I have to dissagree with Shay on the thing about not having the right to comment on it. As taxpayers, we ultimatly have a say in most everything.

    2) As a student, I have to toss is my optimism. If we all feel so strongly about this, it's a GOOD THING! It means something to each of us, and while the situation is too big to gut out and eliminate, maybe we can all try to change it a little. Perhaps nurses could work together and begin community outreach programs or join forces with the March of Dimes. Hope I'm not sounding too naive, but as nurses, I KNOW each of you values life. If each of you helped one addicted mother, then the world is at least a smidge better. I really admire you guys.

    3) What about a system in which the state accuires growing interest in the child's welfare throughout the pregnancy? What would happen if after a certain point in gestation, consequences were introduced for abusing drugs while pregnant? Then the further along in the pregnancy, the worse the consequences? Any thoughts on this?

    4) I know money is tight these days. But if what is needed to take care of these sick babies is more tax dollars, isn't it worth it? FORGET the moms for now. Forget about the prevention factor. Speaking SOLEY of helping the babies, isn't it worth the money? The same "why should baby suffer for something it can't control" logic applies here, IMO. If that mom can't take care of her baby, I agree that the taxpayers should. I hate it, I wish it wasn't so, but it's just a reality. Life costs money. I'm willing to pay up as long as somebody is working on prevention.

    5) Last thing is that I think adoption processes need some SERIOUS rewriting. It is such a hassle to adopt a child in this country that only the richest, most perfect "standard" American family can adopt. No single moms, no gays, no lesbians, can mean no families. Kids need loving, stable, safe families. Time to start making it easier for them to have that.

    -Swiftee
    Last edit by Swiftee on Aug 28, '02
  6. by   Motivated, SN
    swiftee, very well said. thank you.
  7. by   shay
    Nobody has made it out to be simple, motivated. I think that you are looking at this through the eyes of a doe-eyed student who has yet to be in my shoes as a nurse and have to see these women and their babies first hand. Code a crack baby or two....get hit or spit on or cussed at by a crack mom or two...then tell me what you think.

    I don't care why they got addicted. Honestly, I really don't. I know lots of rape survivors, sexual abuse survivors, and physical abuse survivors who had no "support system" but managed to survive what life handed to them without abusing their unborn babies. And ya know what? Some people start using drugs not to 'dull pain,' but because it's the 'cool' thing to do and all their loser friends are doing it.

    Hey, I'm sure all these guys who have been snatching and raping and killing all these little kids lately had some sort of 'trauma' that 'made' them do what they did as a 'reaction' to their 'trauma,' but does that make IT okay, too?? Puleeze. Of course not. The whole 'victim' excuse is a lame cop-out. I don't care what her reasons for using drugs are, if she wants to be a total waste of skin and pollute her body, FINE, just don't drag some innocent kid into it.

    As for the tax dollar thing, yes, I am willing to pay for the babies, because they didn't ask to be brought into the world that way. But I sure would like to see their worthless mothers and fathers have to cough up a chunk of change to contribute to the bottomless pit of money that's going to be needed to raise them. Unfortunately, almost every single time, these parents are sucking off the system.

  8. by   BBnurse34
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by shay
    [B]Nobody has made it out to be simple, motivated. I think that you are looking at this through the eyes of a doe-eyed student who has yet to be in my shoes as a nurse and have to see these women and their babies first hand. Code a crack baby or two....get hit or spit on or cussed at by a crack mom or two...then tell me what you think.

    (mucho applause) Thank you Shay, once again for having the b*lls to say what I couldn't.

    I also really like Suzy's idea on natural selection.
    Also, would your views be different if YOU were the one who had detoxed the baby, told the mother that further exposure would be fatal, and fought with CPS about placing the infant with cracked out mother and grandmother?
    Last edit by BBnurse34 on Aug 29, '02
  9. by   MollyJ
    Originally posted by Motivated, SN
    Thanks for your input everybody. At the risk of getting blasted
    though, I need to make a few points.

    1) Women do not choose to become addicted to drugs.

    2) Women choose to use drugs for the same reasons men do;
    to block out feelings associated with rape, depression,
    anxiety, physical and emotional abuse as children and
    on and on .

    3) Women also choose to become involved in relationships with
    men that often get them started using drugs and keep
    impregnating them.

    4) Yes, women do make the choice to not use birth control.

    5) Yes, women do make the choice to stay in unhealthy
    relationships.

    I am not excusing what they do to their children; but the
    problem is more complex than some of you have made it out to
    be.
    4)
    Hi motivated and others:

    Your post reflects a lot of common misperceptions about addiction per se.

    With the exception of addicted babies, users make a choice to use a substance. Generally, they think they can "handle it" or that they have some mysterious resistance to it--that resistance is, in some cases, called tolerance and means that it takes more of the substance to get a high. And they MAY (not all do) use it initially to cope with some real tragedies in their lives.

    As addiction evolves, it involves a loss of choice and control. This is a critical idea and for some it defines addiction. And, yes, use also displaces other coping mechanisms and becomes a preferred coping mechanism but it is critically important to understand that addicts use because they are addicted. The addict uses their drug to CELEBRATE---they use it because they are happy; they use it when their sad--they use it whenever because they are addicted.

    As addiction escalates, the loss of control spreads to many aspects of their lives including financial management, care of children, self-care including contraception or prenatal care, nutrition and a host of others.

    The addict uses their preferred drug in order to FEEL NORMAL.

    When caregivers say, "Well, the poor thing; she's addicted she cannot help it!" they actually become enablers of the process. Systemic enabling also occurs--enabling by the system. It is not until the mother experiences being held accountable that there is any chance that she will begin to recognize the toll that addiction is taking on her life (and that of her children).

    You are correct in saying that it is a massive and complex problem and one without simple solutions. And addicts do need and require compassion. BUT recovery is more likely to occur when they are held respectfully accountable.

    The system, and anyone who is involved with addicts, finds it incredibly difficult to walk the line between helping and enabling (defined as anything you might do which allows an addict to continue in a dysfunctional behavior without experiencing natural or other consequences).

    BTW, addicts love sympathy and will soak it up in any quantity you care to dish it out in. One of my favorite AA-isms is, "Poor me, poor me....pour me a drink!"
  10. by   MollyJ
    Swiftee,
    Take a look at the www.casacolumbia.org site that I referenced earlier. The No Safe Haven report will give you a good idea of some of the problems that the system labors under. Money is one. I also think the moms are given too many chances to reform at times and the children lose all hope and become pretty jaded. The problem is also one of sheer numbers. There are so many more children impacted by this problem than there used to be.
  11. by   colleen10
    Well, work is kind of slow so I think I will chime in.........

    I have found all of your ideas and thoughts quite interesting and so many of you make really good ones, on both sides of the issue.

    My personal ideas on aborition, etc. aside (and I am pro choice for the record).

    I dont care that the mother is on crack, or why, or what she plans to do about it, whether she seeks treatment or not.

    To me, the fact of the matter is that child should have never been allowed to leave that hospital with her mother. Period.

    I don't care if she took crack at 3 weeks pregnant, 3 months, or after the child was born. No matter when she took it, the child in this case suffered ill effects. She had to be hospitalized for 3 days so that her system could be cleansed because of crack in her system. Crack in her system = physical abuse.

    I feel bad for the staff at the hospital because it appears they tried. They called Family Services but their hands were tied.

    And "leveling" with her that further exposure to crack would kill her. There is no such thing as "leveling" with an addict.

    To some extent I also feel bad for the people at Family Services as they can only do so much within the cofines of the law. But surely something else could have been done. Last time I checked it was illegal to use drugs. They should have arrested that mother right then and there so that she at least couldn't get her hands on that baby.
  12. by   shay
    Originally posted by MollyJ

    And addicts do need and require compassion. BUT recovery is more likely to occur when they are held respectfully accountable.
    Oh, I think I love you!! YES!! Exactly. And I love the AA "pour me" thing......lol!! So true.

    FTR, I have drug abuse on both sides of my nice little upper middle class family. All 3 cases were teenagers who chose to use to be 'cool' and because they liked the high. One chose cocaine, one chose alcohol, one chose pot. 2 of them had their hands patted and were 'sympathized' with. They are now full welfare recipients and suck off the system. The third attended the rehab program 'straight (which does NOT hand-hold and very much espouses personal responsibility),' has been clean for 15 years, and has a college degree.
  13. by   shay
    d'oh! accident.......

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