I am currently taking a course in Contemporary Women’s Health from Cuesta College. In each unit of the course, we are given a topic to discuss. Previous questions focused on the progress women have made toward equality, how the traditional family unit has changed over time, and whether current standards of beauty are realistic. This week’s discussion was much more controversial:
Does a woman have a responsibility and ethical obligation to avoid drug use during pregnancy? If she does use drugs during pregnancy, should there be punishment for endangering the baby? What are the rights of the mother and the baby?
Obviously, this question threads a thin line between the “Pro-Choice” and “Pro-Life” debate. That, however, is not the only politically charged topic. We also touched on mandatory drug testing of pregnant women, reporting of results to the government, and surgical sterilization for women who use drugs. The question of whose rights were more important, the mother’s or the child’s, was raised. Various suggestions for ways of prosecuting women found to be using drugs was discussed, as well as treatments that might work.
In all, it was a very fascinating topic to discuss, and everyone remained civil and focused on debating the issue, not attacking each other. Hopefully anyone who chooses to comment here on this blog will do the same!
There were 35 conversation threads in all. I have only reprinted the conversation threads in which I participated. This topic contains eight posts:
- 5/4: Drug use during pregnancy: Introduction – You have just come to the end of it
- 5/5: Drug use during pregnancy: Necessary Obligation – Agrees that a woman has a responsibility to stop using drugs and supports penalties against those that do not stop
- 5/6: Drug use during pregnancy: Drugs and Pregnancy? – Agrees that a woman should be responsibility, but is uncertain about how a penalty would help
- 5/7: Drug use during pregnancy: Junior and I will take two packs of Camel Lights, please – Feels that a woman should commit to a healthy pregnancy, but should not be punished for drug use during pregnancy
- 5/8: Drug use during pregnancy: Mothers (should) know best – Feels that women should take care of themselves during pregnancy, but points out that sometimes women do not realize they are pregnant for a while; society should help women rise above their troubles rather than punishing them for being in a bad situation
- 5/9: Drug use during pregnancy: Why punishing mothers who use drugs does not work – The title pretty well summarizes the topic
- 5/10: Drug use during pregnancy: Abuse of Drugs During Pregnancy – Focuses on some of the Biblical thoughts concerning this matter
- 5/11: Drug use during pregnancy: Conclusions – A summary of class responses and my own closing thoughts on the issue
p style=”background:#EE8AA; border:thin solid #B8860B; color:#000; margin:3pt 0 12pt; padding: 3pt 6pt; text-align:center;”>This is the beginning of this collection of articles.
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All responses from other students are reprinted with permission and are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 United States License (CC-BY-SA-3.0-US). If the student chose to give me a link to a personal webpage, I have linked to it. Otherwise, I have no contact information for these people. Sorry. Comments from students who chose not to give me permission were omitted when doing so does not adversely affect the flow of the thread; otherwise, the relevant parts of the student’s comments are summarized anonymously.
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Murray, Will (or another student’s name). “Drug use during pregnancy: Introduction”. Furth and Fortune blog by Will Murray. May 4, 2008(the article’s published date). http://blog.willmurray.name/ Retrieved (the current date).
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