Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Criminal Act?

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posted on Mar, 14 2007 @ 08:11 AM
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Originally posted by chissler
Should an unborn fetus have rights?


No. As long as something is enclosed in a woman's body, it is not a person and is not the concern of the country or lawmakers. Once the child is born (and can be called a child, a person separate from its mother) only then do the rights that we all have apply.



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


This is tough. But we don't consider "crack babies" the victim of a crime, do we? It's a terrible situation and it shouldn't happen. But what a woman does with her body is her business. Ideally, women would take care of themselves while pregnant, but we can't legislate a woman to treat herself a certain way. It's her business.

And yes, I know there are consequences, but I am of the belief that we all come into this world with the baggage we need -- to learn what we need to in this life. So, if a baby is born with FAS, it's because it was meant to be. The lessons learned by him - and by those around him - (about love, alcoholism, responsibility, etc.) are his gift to the people in his life. His spirit chooses his circumstance willingly to fulfill his position. That's my belief.

So, as "right" as it seems to try to manipulate things to be better for everyone, it we just don't have the right, IMO.


chissler!

[edit on 14-3-2007 by Benevolent Heretic]




posted on Mar, 14 2007 @ 08:33 AM
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Regarding the criminalization of FAS... I do not think that would be an effective approach to the situation.

It is well known what the dangers are related to alcohol and pregnancy. Women who choose to drink while pregnant must have some serious 'stuff' going on in their lives, to make the FAS danger seem the more desireable.

For society to jump in and add to the burden by criminalizing the situation will only add to the social cost of the woman (the social costs of the actual FAS situation are a constant here), and will considerably more likely than not result in her learning even more unhealthy behavior.

I'm not sure what the best answer is... maybe take two day's worth of the cost of a war based on lies and apply it to this area and do considerably more good. But I do not believe criminalizing the situation is the right way to go.



posted on Mar, 14 2007 @ 10:31 AM
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I don't have the opportunity to fully respond to the above posts at the moment, but I wish to express my joy to see the questions that are being asked, and answered. I literally almost came out of my seat, because I really see a great discussion coming from this.

Whether it is fetus rights, criminalization of FAS, or even an alternative approach to govern the harm done by a careless mother, all of this is going to make for an exciting discussion.

I'll be back later today, with the knuckles foiled, ready to do battle.

Thanks for the reply guys.



posted on Mar, 14 2007 @ 03:07 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
No. As long as something is enclosed in a woman's body, it is not a person and is not the concern of the country or lawmakers. Once the child is born (and can be called a child, a person separate from its mother) only then do the rights that we all have apply.


Needless to say that I respect your opinion 100%, but I honestly feel the subject is a little "stickier" than that. You sum it up quite nicely, and I do agree, but I feel there is so much more to it. If I adopt a child, am I not responsible for their well being? So where is the difference in a fetus? Yes, we do not all choose to become pregnant, which undermines this weak stance as I attempt at a comparison, but you can see where I am going with it. A child is a child for me, after conception, I see a living being. I believe after seven months a fetus can survive outside of the womb, is this not a person yet? I would have you believe it is. Again, I believe, the law requires we take one breath of air before we can be actually considered a person under the law. Before that breath of air, what are we?

I believe your stance on "breeding" BH was that of more treatment, education, etc., on those who are having children. I am surprised to see you have a difference of opinion on this subject. Not that it is a bad thing in any way, I have a difference of opinion on many, many things. But accountability in parents is something that I only have one opinion on, and whether it is a breathing child, fetus, or an embryo, I feel that a degree of adequate care is necessary. If I can prove a mother intentionally consumed a substance that would be deadly to the fetus, I feel that action should be held accountable. Would I go as far as to say murder? No. But I would love to see some sort of vague legislation that left each individual situation, and it's severity, determine the outcome. A blanket piece of legislation would cause more problems than resolve them. But I feel a piece of vague legislation could prove beneficial. We are not looking to lynch pregnant mothers here, but if we see a trend forming where the same individuals are causing fetus's to die, or several children being born with FAS, that behaviour needs to be held accountable.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
But we don't consider "crack babies" the victim of a crime, do we?


Actually, I do. The law does not, but I have a difference of opinion on that.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
But what a woman does with her body is her business.


Yes. Until the moment she realizes she is pregnant with her child. At that moment, it is not only her body. She shares everything with this fetus, and this fetus needs adequate treatment. So everything she does, is her business, until she is made aware of the fact that she is pregnant.

Emphasis on, made aware of. If a woman consumes alcohol while pregnant, but was not aware of the fact she was pregnant, I do not think that is a punishable offense. If we can not prove she was aware of the fact she was pregnant when she consumed the alcohol, then we can not hold her accountable. The only scenario I am trying to bring accountability forth is, the individuals who know they are pregnant, yet continue to abuse drugs and alcohol, with full knowledge of what they are doing to their child.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
And yes, I know there are consequences, but I am of the belief that we all come into this world with the baggage we need -- to learn what we need to in this life. So, if a baby is born with FAS, it's because it was meant to be. The lessons learned by him - and by those around him - (about love, alcoholism, responsibility, etc.) are his gift to the people in his life. His spirit chooses his circumstance willingly to fulfill his position. That's my belief.


Very well said!

I've watched documentaries on children with FAS, and many share this way of thought BH. I believe they think this way as a means of amends with their issues. Most of the children in this documentary were diagnosed with FAS at a young age, and grew up in a foster home. It was very rare to find a child who actually held a grudge against their biological mother, as they felt their lives were a constant reminder for others to what our mistakes can lead to.

I envy their ability to face adversity and still come out smiling. Especially considering the extremity of the situation.


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
So, as "right" as it seems to try to manipulate things to be better for everyone, it we just don't have the right, IMO.



The government behaves in many ways. Not all of these ways are accommodated with the right to do so. I understand that women have rights, and 95% of pregnant women are not going to be affected by what I am proposing. I am not looking to intervene on women and their rights. What I am looking to do is intervene on those individuals who wish to abuse their body with full knowledge that they have a living fetus within them.

Difference of opinion of course, but it is certainly worth discussing.



Originally posted by Open_Minded Skeptic
Regarding the criminalization of FAS... I do not think that would be an effective approach to the situation.


Accountability does not equate to criminalization. We can hold these women accountable for their behaviours through education.



Originally posted by Open_Minded Skeptic
Women who choose to drink while pregnant must have some serious 'stuff' going on in their lives, to make the FAS danger seem the more desireable.


Well, that is an assumption. But let's say I have a lot going on in my life. Very stressed out, too much on my plate, bills, children, etc., I just can not handle it any more! To deal with this, is it appropriate for me to inflict harm onto someone else? No. Intentionally consuming alcohol, or other drugs, with full knowledge of being pregnant, is inflicting harm onto another being. It is wrong on any level, even if the individual is stressed. If they are stressed, it is more of a reason to have legislation in place so we can help those who need it. At this point, we have nothing. A woman who is stressed who could of received help, may be pushed to drink and give birth to a child with FAS. All because we have not implemented any legislation.

I think we can save lives with a vague piece of legislation that allowed the government to "assist" those who require it. We are looking for accountability through education.



Originally posted by Open_Minded Skeptic
For society to jump in and add to the burden by criminalizing the situation will only add to the social cost of the woman (the social costs of the actual FAS situation are a constant here), and will considerably more likely than not result in her learning even more unhealthy behavior.


Again, I am not preaching for the criminalization of FAS. When I first created this thread many months ago, it was addressed as an outcome. I have changed my stance slightly, and I feel we need to offer accountability through education.

Knowledge is power. What is the harm in offering a means of education to a mother who obviously lacks it.



Originally posted by Open_Minded Skeptic
I'm not sure what the best answer is... maybe take two day's worth of the cost of a war based on lies and apply it to this area and do considerably more good. But I do not believe criminalizing the situation is the right way to go.


Well said. And I agree, criminalizing this is not the answer. I am not saying we put these women in jail, and I am not saying we put a blanket over this issue and say that any mother of a child born with FAS is a criminal. What I am saying is a vague piece of legislation could offer a voice to the victim here, and maybe educate mothers on the issue.



posted on Mar, 14 2007 @ 03:31 PM
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Originally posted by chissler
A child is a child for me, after conception, I see a living being.


You may be surprised to find that I agree with you here. FOR ME, life begins at conception. But I don't and won't impose that belief on someone else. So, if a woman gets pregnant, by the same entitlement I claim to believe that life begins at conception, I allow HER the decision of when life begins. If she believes it's when the child takes its first breath, then she's entitled to that.

So, I have answered most of your questions there. Because there is no real scientific and moral timestamp on when life begins, we all (women) have to decide that for ourselves and deal with the consequences.



I believe your stance on "breeding" BH was that of more treatment, education, etc., on those who are having children. I am surprised to see you have a difference of opinion on this subject.


I don't. I am ALL FOR treatment and education on the issue. I'm not sure why you see my stance as different here...



But accountability in parents is something that I only have one opinion on, and whether it is a breathing child, fetus, or an embryo, I feel that a degree of adequate care is necessary.


Sounds like we have different views on accountability. I don't believe I can really hold another person accountable. Only myself. I'd LIKE to, but I can't. I't not my place. Accountability is something a person chooses for themselves, not for others. JMO.



If I can prove a mother intentionally consumed a substance that would be deadly to the fetus, I feel that action should be held accountable.


What about the abortion pill?



A blanket piece of legislation would cause more problems than resolve them.


Totally agree!



But I feel a piece of vague legislation could prove beneficial. We are not looking to lynch pregnant mothers here, but if we see a trend forming where the same individuals are causing fetus's to die, or several children being born with FAS, that behaviour needs to be held accountable.


Sounds dangerously like legislating morals to me... I don't approve of that.



Yes. Until the moment she realizes she is pregnant with her child.


So, chissler, what's your stance on abortion?



The only scenario I am trying to bring accountability forth is, the individuals who know they are pregnant, yet continue to abuse drugs and alcohol, with full knowledge of what they are doing to their child.


And I would say that in that case, she will be held accountable. Not by the laws of the land, but by the laws of karma.



But let's say I have a lot going on in my life. Very stressed out, too much on my plate, bills, children, etc., I just can not handle it any more! To deal with this, is it appropriate for me to inflict harm onto someone else?


He's not saying it's appropriate, he's saying that adding to the burden is ineffective. She needs help, not punishment.



I think we can save lives with a vague piece of legislation that allowed the government to "assist" those who require it.


What is "assist"? and what if they don't want it? Do we MAKE these women get an education?



posted on Mar, 14 2007 @ 05:06 PM
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It is my understanding from reading different studies that some of the less severe cases the symptoms and signs are hard to determine until later on in life. Not all cases of FAS are as easy as black and white either. There are charateristics, but other syndromes have the same charateristics. It is very difficult to determine some of these cases. Unless we are basing this all on the honesty system of the mothers admitting to their drinking, I would say this would be a hard case to determine, especially at birth.

I'm not saying all cases are hard to determine, some of the more severe cases maybe as obvious as just looking at the child. But more of the developmental problems would not occur until later on in life as skills start to develop.


CDC studies show FAS rates ranging from 0.2 to 1.5 per 1,000 live births in different areas of the United States. Other FASDs are believed to occur approximately three times as often as FAS.





The diagnosis of both FAS and ARND is usually made over time because the developmental delay may be not apparent until the child reaches the age of 2 or 3 years. This delay in clinical manifestations is what makes the diagnosis of FAS and ARND a medical challenge. Many times denial of alcoholism makes it even more difficult to elicit a prenatal history from the mother.



posted on Mar, 14 2007 @ 05:34 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
You may be surprised to find that I agree with you here. FOR ME, life begins at conception. But I don't and won't impose that belief on someone else. So, if a woman gets pregnant, by the same entitlement I claim to believe that life begins at conception, I allow HER the decision of when life begins. If she believes it's when the child takes its first breath, then she's entitled to that.


Very noble. Well said. But I don't think whether or not we consider the fetus a living being really comes into play as much as it would appear. I am a man, but I presume that most women feel like a mother after conception. The women of ATS can answer to that one.



Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Sounds like we have different views on accountability. I don't believe I can really hold another person accountable. Only myself. I'd LIKE to, but I can't. I't not my place. Accountability is something a person chooses for themselves, not for others. JMO.


No, we have no difference of opinion on accountability. I could not agree more. But I feel that we can make a genuine effort to help them understand through education, and this education turn into accountability. I do not think we can "make" them accountable for their actions, but we can offer amends on the education front. I did come across as "forcing" individuals into accountability, but what I intended to say was we can offer a choice.



Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
What about the abortion pill?


Entirely different, in my opinion. I noticed you ask of my stance on abortion below, so I will comment on that now, since it will help with the flow of the post. Abortion is ultimately a decision that needs to be made by the mother. As you have said, and I really do agree 100%, I am in no position to determine what another individual "should" do. What I am doing in this thread, is really just offering my opinion on what I think others should do. I think that women who abuse their body while knowing they are pregnant, should be "requested" to take some sort of training, education, etc. When it comes to abortion, it is more of a conclusion. FAS, and other issues, are not a conclusion, so there is much room to speculate. With abortion, it is one of them issues that is fairly close to being black and white. Either you are, or you are not. Me? I'm in the middle.


Most times, I am against it. I prefer to see children adopted rather than aborted. However, a victim of rape should have the option to end the pregnancy. But rape or not, I do not judge those for this. A personal friend of mine had a one night fling a few years ago and the girl ended up pregnant. They had an abortion, and it really left an impact on me though. Even though I was not involved, it left an impact. The thought of me being a father would be a thought that I would not let go. What he had been through, and the girl, is something that would eat at you for eternity. Or so I would think.

So to get to the post, I say make up your own mind. Either way, I am not passing judgment. Like you said BH, I am not in any position. I like how you think.



Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Sounds dangerously like legislating morals to me... I don't approve of that.


Legislating morals. Nicely put. Whether it is morals or not, I feel the vagueness would really leave much to be determined. I just feel that women who give birth to children with FAS, need to, at the very least, understand what has happened here to them, and their child.

Sometimes, I don't think that is the case. A woman may get pregnant, can not handle the stress, abuse her body, give birth to a child with FAS, give the child up for adoption, and never be seen or heard from again. Six months later, repeat this process again. One year later, repeat this process again.

When does it stop?


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
So, chissler, what's your stance on abortion?


I think I cleared that up above. Might of been slightly cryptic. Either way, I feel it is their choice.



Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
And I would say that in that case, she will be held accountable. Not by the laws of the land, but by the laws of karma.


Karma. Well, in all honesty, Karma just isn't gonna cut it for me on this one. I need some sort of organized approach where we can educate individuals on the consequences of their actions. What they choose to do with the material is their own decision.

However, if a woman is known to be a repeat offender of giving birth to an FAS child, a formal intervention may be required.



Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
He's not saying it's appropriate, he's saying that adding to the burden is ineffective. She needs help, not punishment.


I don't think offering amends through education is adding to the burden. Do you?



Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
What is "assist"? and what if they don't want it? Do we MAKE these women get an education?


What if they don't want to. The crux of the issue. Ideally, they will want to. Ideally, this will never happen again. But realistically, we don't have a hope in hell of that happening. So, in my opinion, the manner in which we could approach this is as follows:

For first time "offenders", we could pose the program to them. Outline what it is that we are attempting and that we are merely trying to empower themselves to prevent this tragedy from occuring in the future. As a first time "offender" they have the right to turn it down.

With a second time offender, we would look at one thing. Did they go through the program previously? If they did not, we would make it mandatory at this point. Two children born with FAS because of this woman's carelessness is too much in my opinion. If they did go through the program, we would do it again but reinforce many aspects of it, and go at it with much more detail, and try to be sure that it is soaking in.

If, god help us all, we have a third time offender, I support criminal action at this point. If a woman gives birth, on three separate occasions, and each time the child had FAS, that is criminal behaviour in my opinion.

So there we have it. A rough lay out to how we could approach this. 98% of FAS children probably come from a mother who has not given birth to more than one child with the disease. So the education process would be the extent of the legislation required.

Interested in hearing some feedback/opinions on this.

[edit on 14-3-2007 by chissler]





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