DUI while Pregnant

Ez - posted on 11/16/2009 ( 19 moms have responded )

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OK so I was watching one of those reality cop shows tonight and one of the stories was of a pregnant woman who left a major Melbourne sporting event, attempted to avoid the booze bus, got caught anyway, and blew 0.192 (almost 4 times the legal limit here in Aus). My jaw seriously hit the floor. She was that drunk she couldn't even follow the simple instructions on how to use the breath-a-liser, and then attempted to use her pregnancy as a reason why she couldn't blow for long enough!!! WTF!!!

It got me thinking about whether or not drinking (or smoking for that matter) while pregnant could or should ever be made a criminal offence. I realise it is a slippery slope, but I just kept thinking that this women should have had an extra punishment. This goes beyond the "will a glass of red wine harm my baby" debate... this woman was sloshed, and driving unlicensed, while pregnant.

Thoughts?

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Sara - posted on 11/16/2009

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Don't get me wrong, I agree with you all about it being a slippery slope legally...I just wish there was some way to help kids that have such shitty parents...breaks my heart.

[deleted account]

Unfortunately, I don't think we can do anything to women like this unless we're also going to ban abortion. The argument that a woman's body is her own and she can do what she wants with it will become a moot point if we start telling women what they can and cannot consume while pregnant. Women who knowingly expose their unborn babies to drugs and alcohol make me furious-but I don't know that there's anything to be done about it.

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Rosie - posted on 01/25/2010

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i do wish that there would be some type of legislation for this, and smoking. i myself smoked when i was pregnant with my first child, i went down to 4 a day, but i still continued to smoke. i am the type of person that obeys the law, i'm petrified if i find myself gong 57 mph in a 55 mph zone-i'm so frightened that i will be punished. i know if there was a law against smoking while pregnant i would not have done it. as stupid and selfish as that sounds (why couldn't u have stopped smoking for the sake of your child?) i need immediate consequences or else it doesn't register much with me.

however i do agree that it would be a slippery slope. the argument with drinking after the first 3 months should be illegal isn't very plausible since most of the damage with alcohol is done in the first 3 months. i don't know if there is a good way around this one, it would be nice to see something happen.

La - posted on 01/25/2010

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I think if you are convicted of a drug or alcohol related offense while pregnant you should be monitored by a social worker until you give birth and if the baby is born with fetal alcohol syndrome or other complications directly related to your substance use then you should be charged with child abuse. That's what I would propose if I made the laws.

Michelle - posted on 01/24/2010

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I think that the furthest you could push this kind of legislation would be if there was actual permanent damage done to the child that was a direct result of something the mother knowingly did. Thus you sidestep the issue of the half glass once vs. blasted out of her mind. I do think that those types of law would be enough of a deterrent for those women, because obviously the general health and well being of her child isn't enough. Disgusting. I'll freely admit, even knowing the general opinion in this group, that I smoked while I was pregnant. I've been a heavy smoker for a few years, smoking around a pack a day, and when I found out I was pregnant I cut back to 1-3 a day. While this is a totally different conversation, my point is that I knew it was bad for my child, and did manage to go the last four months without smoking. It is possible. A responsible woman does what is necessary for the betterment of her unborn child. However, these types of women who, like myself, did their best to cut down (or in the case of the true topic of this discussion, kept to the half glass in celebration) should not be prosecuted since there is no lasting damage. The women that should be rotting in jail are the ones who knowingly harm their children, just like women who abuse their "living" children should and do rot in jail. Hands down, once past the gestation period where an abortion is legal, this should be considered child abuse, or endangerment at least.

?? - posted on 11/17/2009

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my old co-manager had that kind of body shape, she had gotten sick and was in hospital and in that time with her illness she got really stalky, she had to take hormones and she ended up rather masculine looking but still obviously a woman and part of the illness... happened to make her stomach swell over about 5-6 months the swelling would go up and down again. I saw so many women come into our store and actually rub her belly and saw "awwwwwwwwww you're going to be a mommy!!!! when's the big day !!!!" and she would just roll her eyes and say "I'm not going to be a mom... I'm sick and fat because of it..." and then they would be so embarrassed.



And the hardest part for her is that her second job... was the head bartender at a local club... her boss used to get SO MANY complaints about allowing a pregnant woman bartend in such a loud obnoxious setting let alone allow her to drink at the bar after her shift.

Amie - posted on 11/17/2009

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Quoting Laura:

Ahhhh, more problems...can pregnant women not throw dinner parties? I would go along with removing children from women who continually abuse alcohol or drugs while pregnant, but unfortunately I have to go with the group on the slippery slope thought.

On a side note, I have a friend who has an unfortunate body type and always looks at least 6-7 months pregnant. She gets some nasty stares when she's out at the pub, or outside having a smoke,


I agree with you Laura. I remember my last two pregnancies vividly. I never drank but I am the one who runs errands. So when our beer fridge needed to be restock I was the one who went out to get it along with my normal errands. At Christmas time it was worse. I swear to god if any of those nasty eye'd people had had the nerve to say anything to me personally I would have whacked them upside the head in all my hormonal rage. =)



I feel for your friend though. One of mine is the same way. She saw one of her older sister's friends at her job once. The woman came up to her and went ooh your pregnant! How exciting! When are you due? My friend just stood there and went.. uh I'm not, I'm just fat. The poor woman was so mortified she didn't know what to say, she turned around and left without saying another word. =| She did apologize later but at least my friend has a decent sense of humor, she just laughed about it all.

Charlie - posted on 11/16/2009

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Like i have said before alcohol is a drug , what people do to themselves is up to them but to force an unborn baby to take drugs is wrong .

Let me ask you this , is it illegal to give a newborn just one standard drink ?

Why should it be any different for an unborn child , how is it any different ?
I am just amazed at people who will so easily smoke , drink , take drugs while pregnant going by the fact that they cant see their child so it mustn't be harming their child .

That woman has no respect for her child , no respect for herself as a future mother and quiet frankly shouldn't be having a child at all in my opinion , or maybe that was her intention .

Isobel - posted on 11/16/2009

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Ahhhh, more problems...can pregnant women not throw dinner parties? I would go along with removing children from women who continually abuse alcohol or drugs while pregnant, but unfortunately I have to go with the group on the slippery slope thought.

On a side note, I have a friend who has an unfortunate body type and always looks at least 6-7 months pregnant. She gets some nasty stares when she's out at the pub, or outside having a smoke,

Ez - posted on 11/16/2009

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When I was posting this thread I did consider the example of abortion, and that's why I agree that legislating against drinking or smoking while pregnant would prove to be very difficult. But as Sarah said, abortion is controlled in regards to gestation (12 weeks is the cut off here unless medically necessary). So once past that point the woman has chosen to be a mother, therefore takes on a duty of care to that baby. Drinking so much that your BAL is 4 times the legal limit is an ENORMOUS breach of that. I'm not sure how far this particular woman was, but she was visibly pregnant, so probably 6-7months.

I remember being in a pub years ago and a girl was stumbling around, blind rotten drunk. Everyone was looking at her simply because of the spectacle she was making of herself, then people started to notice she was pregnant!! Security may have over-stepped their rights legally, but she was quickly asked to leave. No establishment wants to be seen serving alcohol to a pregnant woman, so I guess this is another issue. Should pregnant women be allowed to even purchase alcohol? Obviously just because a pregnant woman buys the drinks doesn't mean they're for her, but would this at least go some way towards restricting the number of women who continue to make such disgustingly poor choices for their babies?

Mel - posted on 11/16/2009

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it most definately should be a criminal offence to drink to excess like that. Its not fair on the baby to be born deformed just because the mother is allowed to do whatever she wants. I have never been breath tested in my life but when I was pregnant and we were at the beach car park late at night just out for a drive they asked me if Id had anything to drink they saw a bottle but it wasnt alcoholic I asked them if they thought I would drink while pregnant but I should have remembered that some people do get drunk while pregnant. I dont judge those who chose to dirnk in moderation as that is what my family does but people who party and drink to excess while pregnant bothers me

Dana - posted on 11/16/2009

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I actually think you're right on, Sara. I don't think it has to be a slippery slope because at some point we do say it's illegal to abort, why not the same for drinking. There is also a huge difference in aborting and slowly poisoning a child to the point of possible retardation.



I'm curious as to how far along she was. I think that at some point in a pregnancy we should be able to take that woman, put her into rehab until she delivers, take the child and then throw her sorry ass into jail.

Amie - posted on 11/16/2009

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Sara what you originally said in your first post, about taking children from parents like these at birth. I would support legislation like that. Once they have proven themselves to be decent human beings again and fully capable of taking care of their child then they can get them back.

The damage would already be done to the child but at least the best life possible for that child would be given. The parents would get the help they need and hopefully would be able to take their child back in the future. I understand some wouldn't clean themselves up but there are some that want to but don't know how too. With SS involved they help the parents and get them going in the right direction. (or at the least point them in the right direction so they can do it themselves)

Amie - posted on 11/16/2009

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As deplorable as these women are I do not think it should be made law. It is a slippery slope that could end up driving women back to having little to no rights if it keeps being pushed farther and farther. No one wants to go backwards. I understand it may be an extreme view but the possibility is there if we start imposing laws.

However women like that generally end up being terrible mothers in the end anyway. If they can't start it off right it's doubtful they will smarten up in the near future. I was a foster mom for a time. I was only able to take 3 kids before I had to say no, I'm done. I do not have the fortitude to do something like that. Each one of those 3 kids that stayed in my home broke my heart. Their parents should have never had children. One was a pre-teen who showed late at night when social services took her. Her mom was at home throwing a party where one of the men had tried to have sex with her daughter. (she was 12 at the time) Her mom wasn't even aware of what was going on she was so drunk. The child called the social worker, she had her private number, it wasn't the first time that family had issues. I took comfort in the fact though that when she left my home she went to a permanent home, she has since been adopted by the next family. I still see her from time to time, her new family lives near by. She is a lot happier and is on the road to becoming a great adult.
The other two were younger children. One was 5, the other 8. Those two ended up going to their other parents though. In all these cases it was the mother who was the fuck up. I haven't heard from the younger two since they left my home but their dads were decent men at least.

I will never understand what possesses any person to not give a crap about their kids. I will never understand why they don't give them up for adoption in the first place or give them to the other parent if they don't want them. It does more damage to the child having to grow up in those conditions. But then most who are bad parents to this extreme are also very selfish. They want the money that comes with having their child.

As much as I would like to be a foster parent again I know it would eventually break my heart to the point where I couldn't repair it. I know myself and I do know it would happen. It's hard enough seeing some of my kids friends come over whose parents obviously don't care but are not quite over the threshold enough for social services to step in and take them to a better home. The ones who fall through the cracks. =(

Sara - posted on 11/16/2009

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I agree that you can't outright make it illegal since we do have abortion, but there are laws that govern abortions, so I dont' think it's that far of a stretch to have some kind of system in place to help children that are being born to mothers like this. If you can't, in most places, get an elective abortion after XX number of weeks, then after XX weeks that child should have rights...IMO. After all, these women are making a the choice to have the baby...shouldn't they take some responsibility for it?

[deleted account]

Totally irresponsible! I'm not a drinker or a smoker but I'm not going to deny anyone else their right to do so. But doing either while pregnant, especially knowing what we know, is irresponsible. I think drinking while pregnant is far more serious than smoking but to make it illegal would definately start a huge human rights debate - maybe some prenatal classes focusing on the use of alcohol would help and paretning classes after baby arrived.



I know some provinces here in Canada are banning smoking in cars when minors (under 16) are present and I've heard some ares are looking at banning smoking in homes (good luck inforcing that one) but personally, I think that's taking it too far. I figure if the government doesn't want people smoking in their cars and homes then they're going to have to start paying the car note and mortgage.



Sorry, I wandered off topic.

Sara - posted on 11/16/2009

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I think that women who have babies that are born with birth defects as a result of something they chose to do during pregnancy should have that child taken away from them. I used to work in social services, and I have seen children born to crack ho's and alcoholics. The saddest thing you will ever see in your whole damn life, let me tell you. That child will never recover and they will have to spend their whole life paying for that. If you chose to do something you know will hurt your child while you are pregnant and they suffer as a result, yeah, you should go before the court for child abuse and neglect. If you stab someone, shoot someone, try to poison someone, it's illegal. Why should it be any different for a baby that you chose to have?

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