Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Criminal Act?

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posted on Sep, 21 2006 @ 10:20 PM
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Americans are simple. Oops, I mean, simplistic. We have a formula to solve problems. If there is a problem, something we don’t like, then we make it against the law.
Then, if the does not stop it, we double the penalty. Saves thinking about the more difficult issues in life.




posted on Sep, 21 2006 @ 10:44 PM
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Originally posted by donwhite
If there is a problem, something we don’t like, then we make it against the law.
Then, if the does not stop it, we double the penalty. Saves thinking about the more difficult issues in life.

I think you're right in a sense.

I do not think criminalizing this issue is a way of dealing with the root problem and actual cause of FAS. Whether a woman can hold down a job or not really has no bearing on the severity of addiction which seems to be the problem here, unless Chissler is arguing that we should criminalize women who simply have a few too many drinks early on in pregnancy before knowing it. With the amount of knowledge we have of FAS those few drinks before knowledge of pregnancy might be all it takes. If so the issue of alcoholism is moot and criminalization isn't the issue, IMO, of course.



posted on Sep, 21 2006 @ 10:52 PM
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Originally posted by parrhesia
unless Chissler is arguing that we should criminalize women who simply have a few too many drinks early on in pregnancy before knowing it.


Which I am not. I am directing my focus on more extreme cases. I am speaking hypothetically, if the situation were arise would be consider it criminal?

Well lets step away from the criminalization of FAS and look at it from a new perspective.

What if a third party could step in to assist the mother along in her pregnancy if the threat of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome exists? Not make a criminal of her, just lend a helping hand.

If you were to agree with this, what would the limits be? If the mother agreed initially and said throughout this pregnancy you have my support to do whatever you may to make sure my baby is healthy, would you permit temporary incarseration for their safety?

I will attempt to provide links of this in the future but for now I will just say what I have heard.

I believe it was in Northern B.C. a few years back on a Native reserve that the police incarserated three women until their children were born in order to prevent the child from developing FAS.

If I can provide links I will, for now has anyone heard of this?

[edit on 21-9-2006 by chissler]



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 04:33 PM
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I worked for 15 years as a therapist to people trying to recover from drug/alcohol addiction. For the last 8 years of that, I worked in a Perinatal Program. This was a federally mandated program that every county in America was supposed to have. It was a special outpatient program set up for women only who had had a child or was pregnant. Most of them were under the age of 35. It was an excellent program that got results until the administration I worked for pretty much dismantled it.

I learned alot about pregnant women who drink and/or use drugs. First of all, a mother who is drinking while knowing she is pregnant, has problems right there. Most of these moms came from homes wehre they were beaten, raped by male relatives, etc. THey never knew anything related to being "normal". One client, when she was 4 y.o. was passed around BY HER FATHER to his friends for sexual abuse. How could anyone turn out normal under those circumstances. Add to that, alot of these women currently lived with an abusive partner. How are they to escape when they have no money, no car, and no job? We did manage to keep the pregnant women fairly clean and sober, though, I think they liked the sulpport and education they got about alcohol/drugs and the friendship from the other women. So, our program worked. When a mother gave birth and had a positive test for alcohol/drugs, in our county, the baby was taken away from her before she even had a chance to hold that baby. It wasn't returned sometimes until 2 years later, until Child Protective Services was satisfied that this woman had quit drinking. What does that do to the bonding process between mother and child? It is just as important for a child and parent to bond as it is for them to not have brain damage.

Punitive measures never work with addicts. What does work is trying to reach them, talking with them and helping them overcome obstacles so they can show up for treatment. Sadly, though, many counties don't have any kind of detox facilities at all and for that I blame our politicians.

One more thing, there have been and still are, many doctors who tell their pregnant patients to "have a glass or 2 of wine every night, it will help relax you." Yes, it's untrue, but that is the way it is. I have run into many women that tell me this.

So you put the mother in jail so she won't drink. Problem is, she hasn't committed any crime and what about the other aspects of pregnancy? For example, prison food isn't all that healthy, too much starch and fat. That isn't good for an unborn child. What about getting exercise? That helps to have a healthy baby, too.

And to tell you the truth, cigarette smoking can be just as bad for the unborn child as alcohol.

If you've ever tried to diet you know how hard it is. It's just as hard for an alcoholic to give up alcohol for 9 months. I'm not saying it's right, just that that's the way it is.



posted on Sep, 22 2006 @ 05:19 PM
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posted by forestlady

First, a mother drinking while knowing she is pregnant has problems. We managed to keep the pregnant women fairly clean and sober. I think they liked the support and education they got about alcohol drugs and the friendship from the other women. Our program worked. When a mother gave birth and had a positive test for alcohol drugs in our county, the baby was taken away from her before she had a chance to hold that baby. It wasn't returned sometimes until 2 years later . . What does that do to the bonding process? It is just as important for a child and parent to bond as it is for them not to have brain damage. “ [Edited by Don W]



While I both understand how hard it is to deal rationally with people who are not acting rationally, it seems this is damaging to the infant, in terms of bonding and so on. I am skeptical any surrogate mother is going to be able to replace the first hours and days of intimate contact with the mother.
This child starts life with at least 1 handicap we inflicted, not to mention those her natural mother may have inflicted. I’d like to see someone try to put the mother and child together in a more desirable setting, like living in a gourp home with 3 or 4 other similarly placed mothers along with a married counselor maybe with their own small children.



posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 08:46 AM
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Originally posted by donwhite
While I both understand how hard it is to deal rationally with people who are not acting rationally, it seems this is damaging to the infant, in terms of bonding and so on. I am skeptical any surrogate mother is going to be able to replace the first hours and days of intimate contact with the mother.
This child starts life with at least 1 handicap we inflicted, not to mention those her natural mother may have inflicted.


Exactly. And the lack of bonding can be just as damaging as the FAS, depending on the severity of FAS. Myself and all of my coworkers were horrified that Child Protective Services were taking the babies away from the mother. We saw what it did to the mother and the baby and it was cruel. Not everything can be solved by creating new laws. THis is a very complex issue. Don, I like your idea of a group home for the moms with some support from a couple.



posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 09:45 AM
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What percentage of FAS children actually live their with biological mother?

I would suspect it to be very low. For the child, some may hold some deep resentment towards the mother for their choices during the pregnancy. The mistakes of their mother have impacted their life, without the slightest hope for recovery.

For the mother, it is a constant reminder of the mistakes she made. It would be a tough reality to face every morning when you see your daughter strugging with different things most of us take for granted.

Some may be tough enough to overcome these problems and provide for their daughter. These women should be applauded for their strength, and forgiven for their mistakes. However, many others may fall deep into depression and look to alcohol and drugs for support. No child should have to live through something like this at such a young age, especially a handicapped child.

I can't help but notice a strong trend to victimize the mother here. Are we ignoring the true victim here?



posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 12:54 PM
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Originally posted by chissler
What if a third party could step in to assist the mother along in her pregnancy if the threat of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome exists? Not make a criminal of her, just lend a helping hand.


Education is the key here, and rather than shy away from 'interfering with parental responsibility' when it comes to sex-education in schools, education on the effects of alcohol and narcotics on the unborn child should also be included. I found an interesting link to a UK company, Life Choice, that specialise in creating 'virtual babies', including drug and alcohol affected newborns that have all the physical and psychological characteristics of these symptoms...seems like a very powerful educational tool indeed



posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 01:01 PM
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But lets face it, a high percentage of the women effected by this are those that didn't watch or listen to anything that was said to them when they were attempted to be educated.

Education is knowledge. Knowledge is power. But those who fail to learn are going to remain ignorant to what their actions can cause to themselves and their babies.

I truly believe a hands on approach is required to save these individuals.



posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 06:32 PM
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Originally posted by chissler
I can't help but notice a strong trend to victimize the mother here. Are we ignoring the true victim here?


Speaking for myself, I believe that BOTH the mother and child are victims of a horrible disease called alcoholism. However, and I may not haave made this clear, the child's welfare should come first. I believe the most important thing for a child is a loving, bonded relationship. If she/he is taken away from the only bonded relationship they have, it can and usually does present major problems for the child in forming close attachments later in life. I believe that the most important thing is for the child to have this close bond and sometimes that means that if the child has no other mother but an alcoholic one, as long as she's not beating the child or in any way abusing her, then if the child bonds with the natural mother, that's where that child should be. You have to weigh the lesser of two evils. I have known alcoholic mothers who managed not to drink during pregnancy, but went back to it later after the child was born. They were still able to be pretty good, responsible mothers. But that doesn't hold true for everyone.



posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 06:49 PM
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Originally posted by forestlady
I believe that the most important thing is for the child to have this close bond and sometimes that means that if the child has no other mother but an alcoholic one, as long as she's not beating the child or in any way abusing her, then if the child bonds with the natural mother, that's where that child should be.


Are you saying a alcoholic biological mother is better than a mother of the year type adoptive mother?

If this is the case, I would have to disagree on this one.

Mother & Father are labels put towards the care takers of a child. If a man inpregnates a woman and bolts, never to be seen again, is he the father? No, he's the sperm donor.

If a mother holds a fetus in the womb for nine months, then neglects it to no end after birth and loses it to child services, is she the mother? No, the family who steps up and is with the child through the thick and thin. The people who put their problems aside to deal with the issues facing the child.

Donating sperm or giving birth does not constitute a mother. The role comes with a few more obligations.

I am a firm believer that we are all products of our environment. The child would be much better in a stable household rather than having to deal with an alcoholic parent.

[edit on 24-9-2006 by chissler]



posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 06:59 PM
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It would be better if the terms parent, mother, and father were reserved for the biological parents. Applying those terms to others may seem warm and fuzzy and convenient, but they really cloud the important issues.

When someone adopts a child legally the adoptive parents become the parents and the birth certificate is changed to reflect that.

Regardless of whatever term is applied to those who take on the tasks of parenting, most of those who learn of their real parents want to be united or reunited with them.

These are just some of the reasons why a society must continue to value stable families.



posted on Sep, 24 2006 @ 07:05 PM
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Wishing to unite with your biological parent does not take away to what the adoptive parents had provided.

So a dead beat who runs out on a girl who he just inpregnated gets the luxury of considering himself a father to the child, while the man who busts his ass forty hours a week to provide is just the birth certificate holder?

Ahh I could never agree with that.

There are more than one variation of stable families.



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 03:06 PM
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Hey, Grady, thanks for bringing that up about biolojgical parents, I really appreciate that, as it's been a sore issue for me for a long time. Most people don't understand how important the biological connection is. I was adopted as a small child into a totally strange family. I was about as different from them as a kid could be and I was old enough to have already formed my own personality. So, I grew up knowing nothing about my birth family and having no one around me even look like me, let alone have the same kind of personality as me. Now, I'm not saying that I don't appreciate all of the things that my adopted family did for me or that I don't consider them my parents, because I do. But the problem for me is that I had no way of knowing who I was, because I had no one to act as a mirror and mirroring is very important to a child's development and ability to bond, and particularly for their self-esteem.

All this is to say that I am not totally without knowledge or experience in this area. In fact, I probably have a better idea than most folks. Most people never stop to think about what it's like to be completely cut off from your birth family - there's alot of information that directly affects you that you will never know, such as genetic illnesses, etc. There is a huge piece of you that will be forever missing, at least until you meet your birth family. I tracked down my birth family about 15 years ago. My birth dad died about 5 years ago and I still miss him. I had developed close relationships with all my birth family.

Of course the parent who actually raises the child is their parent, no question about that in my mind. But, it's also important to realize at the same time, that that child will be handicapped in other ways, even though they may be good at hiding it. So, I've given this idea alot of thought for many years and this is how I feel and think about biological parent vs. birth parent. Thoughts?



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 03:15 PM
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But would you go as far to say that your adoptive parents are not your mother or father?

I would have to disagree with Grady and his thoughts that the Mother and Father labels should be held for the biological parents.



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 03:25 PM
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Chissler, reread my post. I did say that I consider my adopted parents my parents. I call them Mother and Dad. No I don't think it should be saved only for biological parents. But what I agreed about with Grady was his saying that the biological connection is important. My point is that most people don't enter that into the equation when saying that a child would be far better off being with a "good" family". They don't think about that very important component and it is a factor, one of many factors, that should be weighed when making such an important decision.



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 03:48 PM
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I did read your post, and my apoligies for simply focusing on one point. But Grady's post was outlining that the labels should be restricted. Your post begins with agreeing with his biological statements. I was curious to which aspect you agreed with, which is why I asked and did not assume. Thank you for clarifying.

I do understand the biological component and its importance. I was raised by my biological mother and my non-biological father. My biological father was a part of my life, but not sharing a home with him was something that was a problem for me in my younger years. I loved my mother and both of my fathers, but something inside me had always wished I could of experienced living with my biological father.

This does not take away from everything the non-biological father contributed, he was just as much of a father as anyone. But it is a connection that we strive for.

I agree with this aspect. I simply disagree with the restrictions on Mother & Father labels.



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 05:40 PM
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Chissler, I agree with you 100% about the mother/father labels. And thanks for telling me your story. Now I understand more about where you're coming from. And I appreciate that you didn't assume!
In fact, I bristle whenever anyone refers to my parents as my "foster parents" or some such. She's my Mother and he's my Father!! It would break all our hearts for them to be considered anything less than that. Whoever is there to change dirty diapers, pay school tuition, get up in the middle of the night with a sick child, these things are all very selfless acts IMO and anyone who does these chores is worthy of the respect that comes with the title "Father" and "Mother".

These can be very complex issues, which is why adoption presents some rather uncharted, murky territory sometimes. There are alot of kneejerk folks who automatically say "put the child up for adoption", but it's just not that simple for anyone, especially the child. And I am talking about all of this, because I think it's important to not underestimate the harm that can come to a child by not being connected in any way to their biological parents.

I am afraid there are really no simple or clear-cut answers to babies with FAS and what to do with the mother. And each situation can be very different.



posted on Sep, 25 2006 @ 08:11 PM
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Why assume when I can ask?


A member of Grady's stature, I would love you to elaborate on your feelings around the Mother & Father labels when you have the opportunity. IMO it is a no brainer that the caretakers of a child have earned the right to consider themselves the mother or father. I would love to hear your thoughts on why these should be restricted to the biological parents.



posted on Mar, 13 2007 @ 08:46 PM
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This was, and still is, a fairly controversial subject. I had authored this thread several months ago, and when I did, I had my two feet planted on one side of the fence. This was a blatant crime against the unborn child, and there was no two ways about it. I fully understand that the fetus does not have any rights, but it was a moot detail I thought. However, I can still remember parr's first post in this thread, and it really caught me off guard. I feel this thread has had some great posts, but hopefully many more to come.

The biggest problem with this issue, is how we could possibly govern it.

Not every woman understands when she becomes pregnant, so without culpability, I fail to see how we could possibly scream crime. However, in the rarity where we have an individual who is pregnant, and completely aware of it, but continues to abuse alcohol on a regular basis, I feel this is a punishable offense.

With that said, I fail to see how we could not avoid the obvious question that is being raised.

Should an unborn fetus have rights?

Sensitive subject, very controversial, and a subject where both sides can clearly substantiate their opinion. Me? I fully believe the fetus needs to have rights. There is some gray area on this, and I don't think we could ever bypass this gray area, but I would love to see progress on this front.

Due to the possible controversy that this subject has, I bump this thread in hopes that our members take hold of it. I thoroughly enjoyed the first go around, and would love to see what we have to offer this time. A lot of new members have signed up since this thread went cold, which translates into a lot of fresh ideas and opinions.

So let's hear it.

Is there ever a situation when a child born with FAS, can be considered the victim of a crime?

The floor is yours.





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