Lisa Smestad, Women and the Law. Druge use.

* Date: 07 May 90 18:50:29
* From: Lisa Smestad
* Subj: Women and the Law

Around the country various forms of legislation have been passed to require
doctors to turn in the names of admitted or suspected illegal drug abusing
pregnant women.  Many doctors object to the way the laws are written because
they require women who are under their doctos care and receiving good
prenatal care and who agree to stop using drugs still get turned in to the
authorities.

This can scare women who need the prenatal care the most from seeking it or
admitting their drug problems.  Many doctors would only like to turn in the
women who do not continue to receive care under their doctors supervision.

I also feel that this violates doctor/patient confidentiality.  You could go
into your doctors office and find out you were 3 months prego and say
"Gosh, I smoked pot 2 months ago, will the baby be affected?" only to find
social services on your doorstep.

This is very disturbing when social services throughout the country are so
poorly funded they can't handle the current caseloads and just keep tabs on
known life threatening child/parent relationships.

It is my understanding that this legislation is being passeed in response
to the large number of crack and cocaine babies being born.  It's a pity
that they think incarceration is cheaper than putting these women into
treatment programs.

Many women when they find out they are pregnant are willing to enter
treatment but are refused admission to treatment programs because the
treatment programs don't accept (or don't want the liability problems)
of pregnant patients.

As a taxpayer I would much prefer to spend my money on treatment programs
targeted for these women (ounce of prevention) than on picking up the
hospital tab for the children which will be born with so many physical
problems if the abuse continues.


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