Drugs and Pregnancy Essay

Submitted By tamagrace
Words: 559
Pages: 3

Discussion Board #2 Pregnancy and Drug Use I understand the impulse to judge and punish women who have used drugs while pregnant. Who wants to see an innocent baby suffer for something it had no way to shield itself from? There is no doubt that drugs do harm the fetus, that the things a mother ingests can reach the baby, good and bad."The placenta cannot, however, filter out all harmful agents from the mother's blood." (Hockenbury, & Hockenbury (2011), p. 374) Should the mother be criminally punished though? I just don't agree, at least not in all (or even most) cases. I think that we look at the matter as black and white, when really; there are a million shades of grey. If a woman finds out she's pregnant and stops using drugs then, should she still be punished? How can she be punished for something she didn't know she was doing? What about women who find out they are pregnant and continue to use? A woman who is using drugs is usually not in the best living situations. They are usually poor, with no health insurance and limited options. So, when they find out they are pregnant, what are they supposed to do? Many cannot afford abortions and most states do not pay for poor women to have them anyway. What if they want to keep the baby? There is very little help out there for drug addicted soon to be mothers, they might want to quit using and have the baby but, where are they supposed to get this help with no resources available to them? Especially if they fear being criminally punished, they might never seek out a doctor."
Because addiction has both physiological and psychological components, achieving total abstinence or even successfully reducing the harms associated with drug use is difficult to overcome without help. Indeed the judge viewed Ms. Johnson's drug use alone as punishable under the law, despite the fact that the United States Supreme Court has recognized that addiction is a diseases and that to punish someone for being an addict violates the Constitution's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment."(Advocatesforpregnantwomen,org) It seems to me that to refuse someone help and then punish them for the results is almost as cruel as a baby born addicted. So, instead of focusing on punishing these women, isn't the more