Should pregnant women be forced into drug treatment?

This is a very tricky question, and one that the courts have been grappling with. At issue is the right of a woman over her own body, compared with the rights of the as yet unborn child. State laws differ greatly on the enactment of child protection services, and some states offer no protections for the rights of the unborn child, while others leave it up to the discretion of health care workers as to when to contact authorities with evidence of abuse, and still others compel the reporting of pre natal abuse.

Pregnant woman are currently given priority to available drug rehab treatment slots, but when abusive behaviors begin to encroach on the life of an as yet unborn child, I feel that these women should be compelled by court intervention to accept treatment, and to face the consequences of the justice system if they refuse to participate in therapeutic programming.

I know it sounds a little "big brother" but when the evidence of teratogenic harm is so overwhelming, shouldn’t child protection begin even before birth, and why should the unborn child pay the price of a lifetime of developmental delays because of the mother’s inability or unwillingness to stop using. In ideal situations, intervening in substance abuse cases amongst pregnant women offers ultimately wanted and beneficial treatment to the mother while protecting the child, but even if the treatment is resisted and proves ineffective to the mother, at the very least the health of the unborn child is protected, and the social services are already involved in a case likely to require further attention.

I prefer freedom of action, but when freedom results in bodily harm to another, the rights of the individual need to be restrained for the greater good. I understand and respect the integrity of a person over the sovereignty of their own body, but I think that in this case the health needs of both the mother and the unborn child exceed the woman’s right to privacy, and I believe that drug treatment should be mandated in cases of obvious drug or alcohol abuse being inflicted on the unborn child.

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This is a very tricky question, and one that the courts have been grappling with. At issue is the right of a woman over her own body, compared with the rights of the as yet unborn child. State laws differ greatly on the enactment of child protection services, and some states offer no protections for the rights of the unborn child, while others leave it up to the discretion of health care workers as to when to contact authorities with evidence of abuse, and still others compel the reporting of pre natal abuse.

Pregnant woman are currently given priority to available drug rehab treatment slots, but when abusive behaviors begin to encroach on the life of an as yet unborn child, I feel that these women should be compelled by court intervention to accept treatment, and to face the consequences of the justice system if they refuse to participate in therapeutic programming.

I know it sounds a little "big brother" but when the evidence of teratogenic harm is so overwhelming, shouldn’t child protection begin even before birth, and why should the unborn child pay the price of a lifetime of developmental delays because of the mother’s inability or unwillingness to stop using. In ideal situations, intervening in substance abuse cases amongst pregnant women offers ultimately wanted and beneficial treatment to the mother while protecting the child, but even if the treatment is resisted and proves ineffective to the mother, at the very least the health of the unborn child is protected, and the social services are already involved in a case likely to require further attention.

I prefer freedom of action, but when freedom results in bodily harm to another, the rights of the individual need to be restrained for the greater good. I understand and respect the integrity of a person over the sovereignty of their own body, but I think that in this case the health needs of both the mother and the unborn child exceed the woman’s right to privacy, and I believe that drug treatment should be mandated in cases of obvious drug or alcohol abuse being inflicted on the unborn child.

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