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Thread: ACLU Defending Woman Accused Of Using Drugs While Pregnant

  1. #31
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    Re: ACLU Defending Woman Accused Of Using Drugs While Pregnant

    Quote Originally Posted by Falls City Beer
    When the child can survive independent of the mother's womb. Before then it's a fetus.


    But hasn't this standard changed over the years with advances in medical science?

    Does the self-awareness of the baby have anything to do the question?
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    Re: ACLU Defending Woman Accused Of Using Drugs While Pregnant

    Quote Originally Posted by RFS62
    But hasn't this standard changed over the years with advances in medical science?

    Does the self-awareness of the baby have anything to do the question?
    I'm sure it has. I should have stated that this is my opinion. I'm not a physician, though, so I'm using a broad conceptual standard.

    But again, what is at issue here is less when "life" (nebulous term to begin with) begins, but how far-reaching the law is in telling a woman what she can and cannot do.

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    Re: ACLU Defending Woman Accused Of Using Drugs While Pregnant

    Quote Originally Posted by Falls City Beer
    I'm sure it has. I should have stated that this is my opinion. I'm not a physician, though, so I'm using a broad conceptual standard.

    But again, what is at issue here is less when "life" (nebulous term to begin with) begins, but how far-reaching the law is in telling a woman what she can and cannot do.

    Seems to me that what she can and cannot do would be totally relevent to when life begins.
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    Re: ACLU Defending Woman Accused Of Using Drugs While Pregnant

    Quote Originally Posted by RFS62
    Seems to me that what she can and cannot do would be totally relevent to when life begins.
    I don't see it that way. I think the rights of a woman take precedence over everything here--pregnant or not. Like it or not people must have their civil liberties protected, even when the behavior is ill-advised.

    Do you mean whether or not the fetus is considered a "person" in the legal sense? I don't think "life" is really the issue here.
    Last edited by Falls City Beer; 08-20-2005 at 10:21 AM.

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    Re: ACLU Defending Woman Accused Of Using Drugs While Pregnant

    Quote Originally Posted by Falls City Beer
    I don't see it that way. I think the rights of a woman take precedence over everything here--pregnant or not. Like it or not people must have their civil liberties protected, even when the behavior is ill-advised.

    Do you mean whether or not the fetus is considered a "person" in the legal sense? I don't think "life" is really the issue here.

    Not a legal sense, although that's obviously important. Sounds like you're basing your opinion on a moral point of view, which to me is the real question.

    Defining morality on this issue is what makes it such a sticky wicket. I'm sure if this thread gets into this with even a fraction of the detail the evolution thread generated, we'll see a broad spectrum of opinions.

    Where to draw the line between the moral rights of the child and the mother..... when does life really begin...... what is the right thing to do?
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    Re: ACLU Defending Woman Accused Of Using Drugs While Pregnant

    Quote Originally Posted by Falls City Beer
    Don't you know a fetus is more important than a living, breathing, thinking woman? Come on, man, get with it.
    Define "thinking"

    Certainly Kelly Cruz doesn't apply. I'll take the fetus - at least that unborn baby has a chance to make something of his/her life.

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    Re: ACLU Defending Woman Accused Of Using Drugs While Pregnant

    Quote Originally Posted by Reds/Flyers Fan
    Define "thinking"

    Certainly Kelly Cruz doesn't apply. I'll take the fetus - at least that unborn baby has a chance to make something of his/her life.
    Well, you're right, thinking is a relative concept.

    I happen to think it's morally and ethically reprehensible that two people with a combined income of $15,000 a year bring 10 kids into this world (really I think it's wrong to bring 10 kids into this world no matter your income--as overpopulation is all but a guarantee over the long haul). But guess what? It's none of my damn business to tell that couple how many kids they can have. It's called a liberty and I believe in a government that protects liberties whether I like them or not. I also think it's irresponsible that people eat fast food and crap and raise my insurance premiums. But it's not my business to tell people what to eat either. Drinking/ using drugs while pregnant is a poor choice and terribly irresponsible--but it's an issue of conscience, not law--it HAS to be that way if civil liberties are to exist.
    Last edited by Falls City Beer; 08-20-2005 at 03:41 PM.

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    Re: ACLU Defending Woman Accused Of Using Drugs While Pregnant

    Quote Originally Posted by Falls City Beer
    Well, you're right, thinking is a relative concept.

    I happen to think it's morally and ethically reprehensible that two people with a combined income of $15,000 a year bring 10 kids into this world. But guess what? It's none of my damn business to tell that couple how many kids they can have. It's called a liberty and I believe in a government that protects liberties whether I like them or not. I also think it's irresponsible that people eat fast food and crap and raise my insurance premiums. But it's not my business to tell people what to eat either. Drinking/ using drugs while pregnant is a poor choice and terribly irresponsible--but it's an issue of conscience, not law--it HAS to be that way if civil liberties are to exist.
    I'll go ahead and play Devil's Advocate here...

    The problem with a libertarian view of governmental authority is that it doesn't take into account secondary effects of allowing unrestrained liberty. For example, the government prohibits consumption of alcoholic beverages while operating a motor vehicle because it is such a poor choice and so terribly irresponsible that it constitutes a life-threatening hazard to other people.

    Similarly, take cigarette smoking...a completely legal activity, and one could make (successfully, too) the argument that it represents a personal choice that individuals make. You're free to pick up a pack of cigarettes and start puffing; it is your life and if you want to exponentially increase your risk of death via lung cancer, that should be your call, right? However, beyond the oft-debated hazards of secondhand smoke on people who choose NOT to smoke for health reasons, there is also the issue of cost to society in medical expenses. Millions of people every year are treated by HMOs for diseases which arrise out of smoking, and that cost is spread out evenly to every consumer in the form of higher premiums. In the case of government-provided healthcare, such as Medicare and Medicaid, the cost is spread out to taxpayers, many of whom made the responsible decision to not smoke.

    The list could go on and on...if you're a member of Met Life, I guarantee you that some fraction of your healthcare premiums are going to pay for the treatment of some moron in Fresno who broke both of his legs while trying to do some skateboard trick down two flights of steps, or as in the case at bar, a woman in, say, Albany whose son is being treated for a debilitating childhood disease caused by the mother taking drugs or drinking during pregnancy.

    I suppose that could be labeled as the "Cost" of liberty, but I think an equally strong argument could be made that the government has a responsibility to legislate limitations on certain issues (such as, perhaps, drinking and drug use during pregnancy) in the name of protecting society from being forced to shoulder the burden of individual irresponsible behavior collectively. It's kind of a social-contract thought: we give up some of our freedom to the government in exchange for government ensuring the well being of the greater whole.

    Not saying which side of the issue I fall on personally, but I think there's more sides to the coin than just 2.
    Last edited by Caveat Emperor; 08-20-2005 at 03:46 PM.
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    Re: ACLU Defending Woman Accused Of Using Drugs While Pregnant

    Quote Originally Posted by Caveat Emperor
    I'll go ahead and play Devil's Advocate here...

    The problem with a libertarian view of governmental authority is that it doesn't take into account secondary effects of allowing unrestrained liberty. For example, the government prohibits consumption of alcoholic beverages while operating a motor vehicle because it is such a poor choice and so terribly irresponsible that it constitutes a life-threatening hazard to other people.

    Similarly, take cigarette smoking...a completely legal activity, and one could make (successfully, too) the argument that it represents a personal choice that individuals make. You're free to pick up a pack of cigarettes and start puffing; it is your life and if you want to exponentially increase your risk of death via lung cancer, that should be your call, right? However, beyond the oft-debated hazards of secondhand smoke on people who choose NOT to smoke for health reasons, there is also the issue of cost to society in medical expenses. Millions of people every year are treated by HMOs for diseases which arrise out of smoking, and that cost is spread out evenly to every consumer in the form of higher premiums. In the case of government-provided healthcare, such as Medicare and Medicaid, the cost is spread out to taxpayers, many of whom made the responsible decision to not smoke.

    The list could go on and on...if you're a member of Met Life, I guarantee you that some fraction of your healthcare premiums are going to pay for the treatment of some moron in Fresno who broke both of his legs while trying to do some skateboard trick down two flights of steps, or as in the case at bar, a woman in, say, Albany whose son is being treated for a debilitating childhood disease caused by the mother taking drugs or drinking during pregnancy.

    I suppose that could be labeled as the "Cost" of liberty, but I think an equally strong argument could be made that the government has a responsibility to legislate limitations on certain issues (such as, perhaps, drinking and drug use during pregnancy) in the name of protecting society from being forced to shoulder the burden of individual irresponsible behavior collectively.

    Not saying which side of the issue I fall on personally, but I think there's more sides to the coin than just 2.
    Yes, but you've pointed out a wonderful example of an extra-legal incentive NOT to engage in irresponsible behavior--the almighty dollar. People smoke less now in this country than they did 50 years ago largely because of education but I think also in no small part (at least it was in my case) to the notion that what I do can affect others (either through secondhand smoke or increased insurance premiums for others). But these issues can't be forced, they have to be educated and massaged with extra-legal avenues, like money and education. Again, it should be a matter of conscience, not law.

    Honestly the drunk driving example is a bit of a red herring--driving drunk puts other "persons" at risk; and as the ACLU points out, the fetus isn't a person by way of legal definition. Further, drunk driving is almost always performed on public land, not private (which, as you know, changes the picture immensely).

    I'm not an out-and-out libertarian, btw. I think the government has every right to raise taxes for the common good and the protection of the country's borders.
    Last edited by Falls City Beer; 08-20-2005 at 04:00 PM.

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    Re: ACLU Defending Woman Accused Of Using Drugs While Pregnant

    Quote Originally Posted by savafan
    But a Talbot County judge ruled that the person who suffered the risk was the baby after it was born.
    This pot doesn't need further stirring but:

    1. The judges ruling isn't without merit. However, if that line or reasoning is upheld it poses a problem for abortion opponents because it would actually encourage abortion. No birth, no person, no liability.

    2. If you believe that she shouldn't be held liable for the fetus, shouldn't you also believe that nobody should face charges for using drugs. Why should abortion, as a body/privacy issue be held out as more important that other body/privacy issues? Why can a woman abort a fetus but not snort cocaine?
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  12. #41
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    Re: ACLU Defending Woman Accused Of Using Drugs While Pregnant

    This thread has taken many forks.

    I'm taking the fork from 62's question, and maybe I'll make my way back to the initial question.

    I'm really not sure where life begins. But I never understood the hang-up about that question. Even if I grant savafan's contention that life begins at conception, the fundamental questions for me are: a. when does human life become life we want to protect? and b. at what cost do we wish to protect it?

    I don't wish to protect first trimester fetuses at the cost of forcing women into the prison system for either terminating them or failing to protect them.

    It would make me angry on a visceral level to knowingly watch a woman throw down Jack Daniels every night while pregnant, particularly if I were the father. But as unsavory as that is, it would be worse to live in a country where the government could force women into becoming unwilling fetus-harvesting-pods, forced at gunpoint to eat healthily, exercise, and take proper vitamins.
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    Re: ACLU Defending Woman Accused Of Using Drugs While Pregnant

    Quote Originally Posted by Rojo
    Why should abortion, as a body/privacy issue be held out as more important that other body/privacy issues? Why can a woman abort a fetus but not snort cocaine?
    That's a different thread, but it's a good question. I can handle paternalistic laws if they relates to behavior such as driving on a public street, extracting taxes for the public interest, etc. But I fail to see the policy purpose of criminalizing private behavior.

    I'm firmly pro-choice, but I understand the concerns of certain well-intentioned people in the pro-life camp much more than I understand our criminal drug laws.
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  14. #43
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    Re: ACLU Defending Woman Accused Of Using Drugs While Pregnant

    Quote Originally Posted by Falls City Beer
    When the child can survive independent of the mother's womb. Before then it's a fetus.
    Can you show me where medical science states (not the ACLU), when they use the term "fetus", where it is used to indicate meaning void of life (i.e. a person)? I can't find it anywhere. Every medical journal I've referenced simply says it's a developing human from usually two months after conception to birth; an unborn baby.

    Some use the argument that the baby, while in the womb is not viable. The legal definition of viability is "capable of independent existence." When does a fetus gain the ability to live without its mother? This question of viability is defined by the Supreme Court as when a baby is "potentially able to live outside the mother's womb."

    This definition is too broad; it covers many people to whom it was initially intended to refer. A healthy 2-month-old baby, by this definition isn't viable, since that baby can not live without the support of parents or guardians.

    What about premature babies born at 6-7 months? Obviously not viable. Should the parents, if they so choose, be able to remove it from the incubation chamber and other life support needed to aid in this child's development? What's the difference betwen that and abortion? Same result.

    Viability has traditionally been used to determine the ethical justification of abortion. If this justification were the only rule in murder, any crazy, crippled, or young human could be legally killed. Viability must be defined more clearly.

    Ever witness an abortion- especially a late term abortion? Didn't know a "fetus" could cringe and recoil (and obvious indication of pain/feeling) when those instruments are inserted to rip/remove the baby from the womb?
    Last edited by GAC; 08-21-2005 at 08:13 AM.
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    Re: ACLU Defending Woman Accused Of Using Drugs While Pregnant

    Quote Originally Posted by Falls City Beer
    I don't think "life" is really the issue here.
    Maybe it should be.

    And that is the crux of the issue here. Find a legal way to show it is not life, even though medical science has not shown conclusively that it is not (or when life begins). It doesn't matter that science really doesn't have the answer. We seem to use science (or twist it) for our own agendas.

    And then we inject into the argument the reasoning of "protecting civil liberties", as to lump that unborn child into the general, generic, category of other civil liberties, and the right of the woman to make that "choice"... ending the life of an unborn child, simply because that child would be an "inconvenience", or as Jocelyn Elders once said.. " a planned, wanted, child". That's what it is all about. And it is a sad testimony, and very indicative off our current society.
    Last edited by GAC; 08-21-2005 at 08:29 AM.
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    Re: ACLU Defending Woman Accused Of Using Drugs While Pregnant

    Quote Originally Posted by GAC
    And then we inject into the argument the reasoning of "protecting civil liberties", as to lump that unborn child into the general, generic, category of other civil liberties, and the right of the woman to make that "choice"... ending the life of an unborn child, simply because that child would be an "inconvenience", or as Jocelyn Elders once said.. " a planned, wanted, child". That's what it is all about. And it is a sad testimony, and very indicative off our current society.

    I find the footage of little boys and girls with their arms and legs blown off by an errant US bomb just as tragic and upsetting as a late term abortion. They recoil and feel pain too and have no choice.

    Yet no one really cares about them, or sticks up for their "rights." Somehow that is acceptable to us because it was a mistake, non-intended, collateral....just as a pregnancy might have been a mistake or unintended.

    I think what the original response to this was, how such a set precedent could affect future rulings and legislation.

    Putting mothers in prison for an addiction or mental illness is not really solving anything, just appeasing our need for bloodlust, revenge and punishment.

    It doesn't make me feel any better and I highly doubt a 2.5 year prison sentence is a deterrant to other mothers like this doing the same thing (if killing their own baby isn't enough in the first place).

    Once again the issue/ruling is completed overwhelmed by the abortion topic.


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