The American College Of Gynecologists And Obstetricians Released A Committee Opinion Today Stating That Is Is Ineffective And Counterproductive To Place A Pregnant Women In Jail Or In A Mental Health Facility For Abusing Drugs Or Alcohol During Pregnancy.
The American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians released a committee opinion today stating that is is ineffective and counterproductive to place a pregnant women in jail or in a mental health facility for abusing drugs or alcohol during pregnancy. Do you agree?
I've learned more about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder since I began blogging here. I also learned that it's not necessarily uncommon to consume alcohol during pregnancy. Some moms drink alcohol and some even smoke during pregnancy. I'm obviously not a doctor (unless you count that M.D. I could have earned from The University of Google Medicine, where I swear I've logged the equivalent of a medical school education worth of hours!), so I have no standing whatsoever to make a medical opinion on the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. And because I'm not expecting, nor do I plan to be in the future, it doesn't really matter much that I would choose not to drink during pregnancy. Women have to make the best decisions they can with the information available to them, their doctor's input, etc. And because of that, many women make different decisions with regard to consuming alcohol during pregnancy. However, I have wondered about women who abuse drugs or alcohol during pregnancy, which, by definition of the term abuse, is different than an expectant mom who chooses to have an alcoholic beverage on occasion. Specifically, I was recently curious about state laws dealing with drug or alcohol abuse during pregnancy. I haven't taken the time to look it up. I mean, free time...what's that?! Today, I came across an article on Medical News Today titled Pregnant Women Need Care, Not Incarceration. In that article, my question about state laws was answered:
Currently, fifteen states consider substance abuse during pregnancy to be child abuse under civil child-abuse statutes, and three states consider it grounds for involuntary commitment to a mental health or substance abuse treatment facility. States vary widely in what they consider drug abuse during pregnancy. Some states consider alcohol use by pregnant women to be child neglect.The American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians released a committee opinion today stating that is is ineffective and counterproductive to place a pregnant women in jail or in a mental health facility for abusing drugs or alcohol during pregnancy.
Although states with mandatory reporting requirements and criminalization statutes may have been well intentioned, these laws have not reduced the incidence of alcohol and drug abuse among pregnant women," said Maureen G. Phipps, MD, chair of The College's Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women. "Unfortunately, the effect of these laws is that many pregnant women who need help avoid prenatal care altogether and may have worse outcomes as a result.I obviously know how important prenatal care is, but I wasn't aware "that getting prenatal care significantly reduces the negative effects of substance abuse during pregnancy, including decreased risks of low birth weight and premature birth." (bold added) Basically, I didn't know that prenatal care could significantly offset the effects of alcohol. >>Knowing this, what do you think? Should women who abuse drugs and/or alcohol in states that have laws preventing them from doing so be put in jail or mental institutions? Or are the laws archaic and counterproductive?