#1
On the bus yesterday, while reading a newspaper, I happened upon a story claiming that 20% of mothers in Blackpool smoke during pregnancy. I've been thinking about this topic a little, and think it's worth discussing.

Some issues for consideration;

1. What comes under the scope of "abuse"? Drugs that are both legal and illegal? Only drugs that have been shown to have negative effects on birth? Or only illegal drugs?

2. What should be done -if anything- about abuse, assuming we find a robust definition? Should we punish addicted mothers for their actions? Would this be fruitful in limiting the damage incurred by newborns? Or will punishing mothers who take drugs simply reduce their likelihood of seeking help?

3. Is the recognition of foetal rights necessarily at odds with a pro-choice view on abortion? Can foetuses have "latent" rights that only become active upon birth, with prenatal violations of those rights being recognised only after birth?

4. How does evidence of drug abuse during pregnancy imply parental suitability, if at all? Why is there a disparity between the social acceptability of prenatal drug abuse of legal drugs and those of illegal drugs? Is this in relation to the harm they cause respectively, or not?
Last edited by TooktheAtrain at Jun 15, 2013,
#3
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#5
I think that as far as smoking/drinking/doing drugs while pregnant, the most important thing for future mothers would just be information. I feel that many women dont understand the lasting effects that these substances have on the child. My cousin was adopted and has fetal alcohol syndrome, and it really messed up the entire family, and he now has a drug problem, and has to constantly ask for help.
If I didnt personally know him, I would probably not have any knowledge of the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome, or any fetal issues related to substance abuse for that matter. I mean, I heard that its bad to smoke while pregnant, but I have never been told why its bad, or what it does, so it is kind of just pointless.
I dont believe that punishing a pregnant woman for doing these things to her future child should be really punishable by law, but I do think that there should be a more helpful treatment that can help them move forwards without having to smoke/drink/do drugs for the nine months they are pregnant.
I guess in all, I just think that there should be more information available to people on the effects of the substances they are using on their unborn child
#6
1. What comes under the scope of "abuse"? Drugs that are both legal and illegal? Only drugs that have been shown to have negative effects on birth? Or only illegal drugs?

Abuse isn't a term limited to illegal substances. I'd say fetal abuse would include legal drugs that are shown to have negative effects on birth, but I'm also simply not sure on what a fetus' rights should be.

2. What should be done -if anything- about abuse, assuming we find a robust definition? Should we punish addicted mothers for their actions? Would this be fruitful in limiting the damage incurred by newborns? Or will punishing mothers who take drugs simply reduce their likelihood of seeking help?

The last question here is a statistical one. It needs to be tested. And the more effective choice is the one to make.

3. Is the recognition of foetal rights necessarily at odds with a pro-choice view on abortion? Can foetuses have "latent" rights that only become active upon birth, with prenatal violations of those rights being recognised only after birth?

It certainly could be, but it doesn't have to be. Those who view abortion as an act taken to prevent a fetus from being born into an unstable, unpleasant life might see abortion as the ultimate mercy for a fetus. I certainly can understand that. And yet those who use abortions as a means to maintain their lifestyle do not recognize any fetal rights.

4. How does evidence of drug abuse during pregnancy imply parental suitability, if at all? Why is there a disparity between the social acceptability of prenatal drug abuse of legal drugs and those of illegal drugs? Is this in relation to the harm they cause respectively, or not?

Parents who use drugs could be good parents, but once their habits become maladaptive, in the sense that it causes an opportunity cost when it comes to parenting, they are not very suitable parents. A pregnant woman who imbibes lot of alcohol regularly is a terrible parent. And as for social acceptability, it's because illegal drugs and legal drugs have their own disparity in social acceptability.
#7
Anyway, what implications does the view that parents are responsible for their foetuses birth hold? Could it not overlap with eugenics? If we are to say that it should be a criminal offence to engage in risky behaviour (such as drug abuse) during pregnancy that disposes the foetus to health complications upon birth, then to be consistent wouldn't we have to say that it should be a criminal offence to engage in procreative acts that carry a similar risk? (like parents with huntingtons reproducing)
#9
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