Tennessee Governor Signs Bill Criminalizing Pregnant Women


Read more of our coverage on the Tennessee Pregnancy Criminalization Law here.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a bill Tuesday that will allow criminal charges against women who struggle with drug dependency during their pregnancy.

The measure will also single out users of illegal street drugs, despite the fact that 41 percent of infants born addicted to drugs in Tennessee have that condition because their mothers are addicted to prescription painkillers.

Reproductive rights advocates had called on Haslam to veto the bill because it will discourage addicted pregnant women from seeking treatment, and is written in such a broad way that it could allow criminal charges for any poor pregnancy outcome, even if a woman is not addicted to drugs.

The bill is likely to hit Black women the hardest because they are more likely to be reported to authorities for their addiction, even though the rates of substance abuse between white and Black women are about the same.

“Today, the Tennessee governor has made it a crime to carry a pregnancy to term if you struggle with addiction or substance abuse,” said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, in a statement. “This deeply misguided law will force those women who need health care the most into the shadows. Pregnant women with addictions need better access to health care, not jail time.”

As Haslam was deciding whether to sign the bill, White House drug policy czar Michael Botticelli criticized the idea of treating addiction as a crime rather than a disease. While he declined to comment specifically on the Tennessee bill or Haslam’s decision, he did offer pointed commentary on why it’s bad policy to treat drug-addicted pregnant women—or any drug addicts—as criminals rather than patients in need of help.

“What’s important is that we create environments where we’re really diminishing the stigma and the barriers, particularly for pregnant women, who often have a lot of shame and guilt about their substance abuse disorders,” Botticelli said during a tour of the neonatal intensive-care unit of Vanderbilt’s Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital. “We know that it’s usually a much more effective treatment and less costly to our taxpayers if we make sure that we’re treating folks.”

Advocates praised Botticelli’s remarks, which were seen as an unusual but welcome gesture from an administration official. “We are very pleased that the White House is speaking out in a way that might actually discourage the expansion of the war on drugs, in general and when it comes to pregnant women,” Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, told RH Reality Check. 

Botticelli has not responded to a request for comment at publication time as to whether the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy will take action to protect pregnant women from the effects of this bill.

Tennessee got rid of its criminalization policies towards drug-addicted pregnant women two years ago and last year passed the Safe Harbor Act, which incentivized women to get into treatment programs by guaranteeing that they would not lose custody of their children by doing so. But now prosecutors can resume bringing criminal charges, and the maximum penalty under the new bill could conceivably be 15 years for aggravated assault.

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  • red_zone

    It’s pretty clear these losers don’t care about women or children. Otherwise, they wouldn’t make it a crime to be sick.

    • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

      Well said. Drug addiction is a disease and not a moral failing.

  • Red

    Is there anything more worthless than a human life in a red state? This is what we’ve become, dehumanize yourself and face to bloodshed

    • red_zone

      Did NONE of these fools consider that federal laws regarding things like drug possession are still on the books, have NOT been changed and would HAVE to be for this law to be effective in the way they THINK it will work? Or claim it will?

    • bbroome62

      You.

  • alexia

    I kind of agree with the new law. If I was a person with a permanent disability due to my mothers prenatal drug use, I sure as hell wouldnt want her raising me and Id want justice. My parents used to be foster parents, Ive seen what happens to these kids physically and mentally. For people to defend a crackhead over an innocent child is beyond me.

    • driveswift

      But this law will only lead to MORE problems for those children because mothers will be less likely to seek help. More likely to try self-aborting to not risk criminal charges.

      • alexia

        From what Ive read, Tennessee had already criminalized before but they switched to non criminalization. When they did that, the numbers of drug infused babies went up. So now theyre trying criminalizing again. The women do have options; financially assisted abortion up to 16 weeks (the law doesnt count until 24 weeks) and they also have the option of avoiding charges if they immediately agree to go to a state treatment program once they are apprehended. Sounds fair enough to me. But we wont know for sure how this will turn out until they examine the effects of this approach. In two years they plan to look at all the data.

        • fiona64

          When they did that, the numbers of drug infused babies went up.

          May I see a citation, please?

        • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

          Source or it did not happen.

        • http://www.townandcountrygirlsrealestate.com/ Paula Denmon

          Read the to the end of the article. .not at all what was said. Criminalization is back full force.

    • Alex

      If you’re going to take that position, you should AT LEAST criticize the law for its bias against blacks and street drug users over whites and “white collar” drug users and for its overly broad language. It’s pretty plain that this was a law written by old, white men.

      • alexia

        How is it biased? I think it should include all drug users. But Im also not shedding tears for lower class black women. At one point I had to live in the ghetto for 3 years. The women were mostly obese, ugly, more like hideous, dumb, loud mouthed and mean. They were also constantly abusing their kids. Unless youve had to really be around these people, dont give me your acceptance bs. They are disliked for a reason.

        • grantal

          You never walked in their shoes did you? Who the hell are you to? judge them then? You know it is getting really old all this hatred of others just because they don’t look like you or act like you. Get over yourself!

          • alexia

            Actually i feel extremely glad not to be an obese hideous dumb woman. Oh but im supposed to like said hideous people who are also mean and nasty to everyone for no reason, dumb as a rock, and beat their kids all day and call their kids niggers. Yes! Lovely!

          • alexia

            Example “come here boy before i beat yo black ass upside the head, shut the fuck up!” Says woman to her child.

          • alexia

            They also loved to leave their kids unsupervised in the streets.

          • fiona64

            So, of course you reported all of this to CPS, right?

          • alexia

            Really? Call cps when i was living there, and risk babydaddy coming to bust a cap in my ass? Obviously you dont know how the ghetto works. And since I was the only white person in the neighborhood, id be prime suspect of who called cps. Theyd tell me I looked “purebred”.

          • Jennifer Starr

            Purebred meaning what? This is sounding less like reality and more like a stereotype. Where exactly did you live?

          • alexia

            I imagine pure bred means a well bred person. Attractive, upper class. Everyone stared at me bc i was so out of place there. An anomaly.

          • Jennifer Starr

            Oh, poor baby, having to mingle with the dreaded lower classes. Daddy’s trust fund not come through that year?

          • Michelle

            Never happened. This entire thing sounds made up.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            She is a stone liar.

          • fiona64

            So, there was all this horrific abuse going on and you couldn’t be bothered to do anything about it? I don’t know about anyone else, but I smell bovine excrement.

            I lived in an ethnically diverse, less-privileged part of a major Bay Area city. If anything, the kids I saw were better behaved than their hyper-privileged Caucasian counterparts in wealthier parts of town. They spoke respectfully to adults, and were always clean and dressed appropriately. Your “assumptions” about what I know are radically removed from reality.

          • alexia

            You people are making shit up. If ghettos were so wonderful, people wouldnt avoid them like its the plague and they wouldnt produce so much violence.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            I live in the ghetto. I know how it works. A white Irish woman reported me to child services because she got mad at me. Typical ghetto mentallity BS. Never had anything but good experience dealing with black parents.

          • lady_black

            I once had CYA called because my son was throwing a tantrum, and someone honestly must have thought I was beating him. Nothing happened. They came and looked around and marked the complaint unfounded. Honestly I can’t understand why someone who witnesses actual abuse wouldn’t report it.

          • alexia

            you must have very low standards

          • lady_black

            I know CPS doesn’t tell people who called. I can’t believe you got someone to vote up your assholery.

          • fiona64

            She probably upvoted herself.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            I am a colorful person although not black. I would say to my children “You know what is going to happen if you keep doing that.” And they would sing back in chorus “Yes, Mom, you are going to rip my arm off and beat me over the head with it.” You think I ever ripped off an arm?

          • Jennifer Starr

            Yeah, somehow you’re not coming across as very ‘lovely’ yourself.

          • alexia

            Right, because im supposed to just LOVE child abusers. They are so awesome. Also, people who deform and disable their kids by using drugs during pregnancy, theyre awesome too. Yeah the law says they only get convicted if they refuse rehab, but who cares! They should be able to deform all the fetuses they want!

          • alexia

            Demanding a pregnant woman go to rehab? No way! Inhumane! I cry racism!

          • purrtriarchy

            Tennessee doesn’t offer rehab programs for poor women dumbass

          • alexia

            Yes they do.

          • Joan2

            No, there is no subsidized rehab for poor pregnant women in Tennessee. So, no, they can’t just go into rehab at no cost to avoid prosecution, azzhole.

          • lady_black

            Go away again 5×5. You’ve been busted.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            You need to get a new class of friends.

        • fiona64

          Wow. Racist, much?

          • alexia

            I said lower class black women. Not all black women.

          • Jennifer Starr

            Racist and classist. Just wow.

          • alexia

            im not racist. Classist? Maybe. Go spend 3 years in the ghetto and lets see how “non classist” you become. Like MLK said I judge people by the content of their characters. And well except for a mexican lady and a couple of black women, i didnt see very many good characters there. Most people avoid even going to those “bad” parts of town. Does that mean everyones classist? Or just has common sense?

          • Jennifer Starr

            You don’t know where the hell I’ve lived or who I know, But I can tell you that I’m not impressed by the content of your character.

          • fiona64

            But Im also not shedding tears for lower class black women. At one point I had to live in the ghetto for 3 years. The women were mostly obese, ugly, more like hideous, dumb, loud mouthed and mean..

            Racist, classist and downright ugly remarks … made by you.

          • alexia

            Its not racism. Im telling plain truth about what i witnessed there. I have no problem withclassy intelligent black folks. My doctor is black and i voted for obama. I also like my black neighbors. They are classy, respectful and smart.

          • lady_black

            Too bad you aren’t any of that.

          • alexia

            But people like you want to turn everything into thats racist! Lol

          • lady_black

            Is that supposed to make sense? It doesn’t.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            You are an anus. And the effluvium coming out of you is so rank that is is clear that as an anus, you are near to flaming.

          • Unicorn Farm

            I am shocked that you think this sentence makes you look *better*

          • Dez

            Screw you bit**!! You’re a damn racists with the trash you are spreading about black women like me. Your stereotypes are not welcome here.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            Second that.

          • alexia

            I was not talking about all black women. I was talking about the ones in the ghetto.

          • Jennifer Starr

            It doesn’t sound any less offensive the second time you say it.

          • lady_black

            Go fuck yourself.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            Well said.

        • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

          I live in Philly. We are a black city. I live in the Hood. I am one of three pink faces on our block. I love my neighbors. They are good folks.

          • lady_black

            My sister lives in the hood. She’s an amazing mother.

          • alexia

            Mothers who would have kids in that kind of neighborhood are not good mothers. Something is off there.

          • Jennifer Starr

            So you think that every mom in the ‘lower class’ is a bad mother. Is that what you’re telling us here? Do you have any idea how offensive you’ve just been?

        • Lisa Moon

          So – other than your subjective notation of these women as “ugly” and “hideous”, the other descriptors are frequent direct results of poverty.
          And poverty leads to further poverty; a cycle.

          People with ignorant and racist opinions like yours only help to keep that cycle going.

          Have some compassion, ffs, and perhaps try some education yourself – I’d suggest starting with basic sociological theories and terms, such as social justice (anti-poverty, disabled peoples’ rights, affordable housing, livable wage, etc, etc)…

          Not only might doing so save you from the apparent awfulness of living in the “ghetto” , but you might even be inspired to help others gain the tools to do the same.

          • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

            I do not know where this racist freak has been hanging, but I live in black Philly. Some of the most beautiful woman I have ever seen are black. And are only beautiful women entitled to dignity, respect and admiration?

          • alexia

            Ugliness is genetic mostly. So is intelligence. The people in that neighborhood were all afforded public housing and they were mostly destroying it with vandalism.

          • Jennifer Starr

            Ugliness is genetic mostly.

            Is that where you got yours from? Because that’s all we’re seeing from you.

          • Lisa Moon

            Attractiveness is subjective – that means not everyone will agree what is attractive or not. This is your opinion, not a fact.

            Intelligence has some genetic components but education – even informal (learning outside of schools, for example) – can give people a greater understanding of many things. This seems to be what you lack: an understanding of why things are this way.

            If people do not learn respect for themselves, others, and their environment growing up, they are highly likely to behave the same ways.

            People who are abused frequently become abusers.

            People who are told they’re worthless believe it and act in ways that affirm this.

            You keep talking about the effects of systemic poverty and oppression but don’t demonstrate an understanding of why it happens.

            I’m saying there are reasons why people are acting as you allege and the root causes need to be addressed to create change.

            People need to be given the tools to change their lives – just one thing (maybe getting housing but not learning how to run a home well, as an example) won’t fix it all because there is more than one aspect to the problem.

            You seem content to write people off as worthless and almost sub-human in your descriptions. You are part of the problem by behaving this way.

          • alexia

            Bullshit. They ARE almost subhuman. And heres the thing. The reason I ended up living there for three years is because I was not privileged myself. I was abused physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually and abandoned. I was told I was worthless. So I made the mistake of having kids young and having to move near those freakazoids. I wasnt out doing drugs and beating my kids and after 3 years I was able to move out. I had genetics on my side; my biological mother came from a wealthy family and she had an ivy league education. So all these excuses you make for these freaks who treat their kids like shit, shoot each other, do crack, etc is the reason Im pulling back from the liberal arena. Its all bullshit. By the time we moved out, mexican lady (also poor but decent) had a deap seated repulsion to those crazies. Dont even let me get started on how they behave in school. They dont want to be educated, most dont care at all and they make concerted efforts to avoid education. Even white trash poor hillbillies are more tolerable and pleasant than what I saw. So unless youre going to get up close and personal with these people, you cant even come close to understanding what goes on there.

          • fiona64

            They ARE almost subhuman.

            If I were a wagering woman, I’d guess you call yourself a “good Christian.”

            I was not privileged myself.

            You said you’re white … which automatically means you are privileged above women of color. You clearly do not understand what privilege is. Let me clue you in: it has nothing to do with money.

            You’re a racist whackjob.

          • Dez

            Oh you were talking about your inbred mother. Is your father also your brother too? I know how racist people like you like to keep your family pure by keeping it in the family. Maybe you should teach your kids not to breed with family members before spouting crap.

          • alexia

            Attractiveness subjective? hahahaha I think 99% of the population would agree theyre ugly. Poverty causing ugliness? No way. Youre born with it. Sure, having money can improve your looks, but unless youre doing major surgery it wont make you much more attractive. There was no amount of makeup or new clothes that would fix those people. But ofcourse the looks was not the worst of them.

          • Jennifer Starr

            All the plastic surgery, clothes and money in the world can’t fix the ugliness that you’ve displayed to all of us here.

          • fiona64

            Youre born with it.

            You obviously were … I’ve never seen such a heap of ugly come out of one person in my life.

    • purrtriarchy

      The crack baby myth is nothing more than a myth. And throwing women in jail won’t improve pregnancy outcomes. Only treatment will. And Tennessee does not offer treatment to low income women.

      • alexia

        Yes they do. Part of the law states they will offer rehab before considering prosecution. Only those who refuse treatment will be prosecuted.

        • lady_black

          Most of the rehabs do not take pregnant women. You haven’t read enough about this to know what you’re talking about.

        • purrtriarchy

          Those rehab centers don’t exist. fuckface.

    • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

      I was raised by a sober Catholic white woman who sexually and physically abused me. You are so full of shit your eyes are mahogany.

      • lady_black

        I’m so sorry for what you went through.

      • alexia

        Your experience is tragic and should not have happened. But has nothing to do with what i witnessed. Statistical data also supports that more abuse happens in those neighborhood. Im only sharing what I witnessed. If the truth hurts that is not my fault.

        • Jennifer Starr

          Show us the statistical data.

        • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

          YOU ARE FULL OF SHIT. YOU ARE A RACIST.
          If you ever come near me IN REAL LIFE, I will give you the bitchslapping you so richly deserve. And I am blue eyed and white. A little chubby too. And my friend Margeee told me I have the biggest ass she has ever seen on a white woman.

      • alexia

        And im leaving here with one last statement; im not racist. But i do support rehab for a woman of any race or background who is endangering her child by using drugs while pregnant. Reckless behavior is not good. If the women wont go to rehab, jailing them will prevent them from further harming the fetus. This is my opinion. Obviously others agree because it is now law and we will have to monitor the progress of the law and if it helps or not. The ghetto thing, I only told the truth about what I saw there. It was mostly negative. If you like it there then that is your preference and its ok. But it doesnt mean that others cant speak truth as they see it. People will always differ in points of view. But mexican lady and I are sure glad to be out of there. We didnt find gun shots all that wonderful. I also wasnt talking about all black people, just the ones that i witnessed in that particular neighborhood. Except maybe a few there. But i know you people will keep ignorantly arguing and still wont understand a thing.Bubye.

        • Jennifer Starr

          This is what’s known as a flounce. Guess it’s all you have left when you haven’t made anything that even approaches a coherent argument. Bye now. Flounce away. Don’t let the door bump you on the way out.

          • alexia

            Well I had to “flounce” since its become more than apparent that you people insist on being in love with pregnant crackheads and ghetto trash. Good for you.

          • Jennifer Starr

            In my forty-one years of living I have been privileged to meet a variety of people from all classes and all walks of life. Some good, and some not so good, but there’s usually good everywhere if you’re willing to look. One lesson I have learned is that high social standing is not always indicative of good character and you are certainly proof of that. Rarely have I encountered anyone so openly hateful and trashy. So all your talk of ‘class’ is merely superficial–we’ve seen what you’re actually like.

          • Dez

            Good, racist trash like you is leaving. Thankfully you’re being pushed to the fringe of society and the world will be better off after you die.

          • Arekushieru

            Sorry, ‘honey’, but I was overweight LONG before I became homeless… And… yes, you read that right… I’ve been homeless. Literally. No shelter. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Etc…. AND with a 100 lb furbaby. I was STILL more privileged than my counterparts who weren’t white like I was. Unlike you, I had absolutely NO money whatsoever, btw. OOOOOPPPSSS.

          • Arekushieru

            It’s more than apparent that you insist on being in love with pregnant alcoholics while hating on pregnant ‘crackheads’ and being in love with white trash, like yourself, while hating on ‘ghetto’ trash. So typical of hypocrites like yourself.

        • goatini
    • http://www.townandcountrygirlsrealestate.com/ Paula Denmon

      I kinda think you are either stupid…or perhaps didn’t think this through.

  • Karie Ryan Ordway

    The trouble with laws like this, is the evidence presented in these cases will be based in politics and not medicine. The case of Rennie Gibbs and Mississippi proves that cause of death will be deliberatly construed to be a woman’s fault. Gibbs had used cocaine during the pregnancy and delivered a stillborn with the cord wrapped around the infant’s neck. The Medical Examiner (who Mississippi knew to be incompetent and later replaced) found trace amounts of the drug in the baby’s blood and so declared the cause of death was cocaine toxicity. Other experts pointed out that, cocaine use aside, the most likely cause of death was strangulation and cocaine was not known to cause that. Blithely unconcerned with the medical and scientific evidence, and the considerable reasonable doubt it raised, the State charged her with murder. Interestingly enough, Mississippi has the highest infant mortality rate in the nation. Tennessee has the third highest. I guess if one has to blame others for the dismal conditions of a failed state, deflecting the cause of that failure is the smart political thing to do. Tennessee is catching on.

    • purrtriarchy

      Exactly.

    • Debmcd

      I agree. It’s amazing how many stupid politicians think they can be doctors and lawyers and politicians too. Unfortunately they aren’t even smart enough to be politicians, let alone doctors and lawyers.

  • OHDisqusNSA666100

    Big govt is gonna jail white women in Tennessee for not eating enough vegetables – thanks Conservatives.
    But what if her husband insisted she be on a meat only diet?
    Conservative = Big Govt Hypocrisy

    • bbroome62

      The REAL hypocrisy is the anti-right to life gang serving up their brand of manifest destiny.

      • purrtriarchy

        The right to life does not include the right to use the body of another as life support.

        • bbroome62

          Uh, that’s pretty much how life works in nearly every creature on this planet. What are you, some kind of android?

          • purrtriarchy

            Really? We all take other people’s kidneys, blood and partial livers to sustain our own lives?

            For reals?

          • bbroome62

            Apparently your reading comprehension isn’t up to the task. So far, of all the inane comments I have seen on this board, yours takes the cake.

          • purrtriarchy

            Sweetie, you just said that we all use other people’s bodies as biological life support, just like a fetus

          • Jennifer Starr

            Funny, because that’s what I was thinking about most of your comments. Especially since they don’t even address the topic of the article.

          • Suba gunawardana

            Do all those creatures have “right to life”?
            -If they don’t, why should fetuses have a right to life?
            -If they do, there goes your right to eat.

      • DonnaDiva

        What’s noteworthy here is that you are not even addressing the topic of this article, which is women being prosecuted for pregnancy outcomes. Which leads me to believe that you are fine with that, and probably for jailing women for earlier miscarriage and abortion too.

        Anti-choicers intend to jail women, no matter how much the glib spokespeople for the movement deny it.

      • Arekushieru

        Nope, the so-called Pro-’Life’ crowd is the anti-right to life gang… but just for WOMEN. After all, if the right to life means only what is possible for you to THINK it means, that one has the right to exist at all costs, then you are actually OPPOSING that right for women, by forcing them to endure the third leading cause of death for women, worldwide, while ‘permitting’ men to avoid a similar predicament. Misogynistic hypocrite.

  • flan59

    If they really wanted to help the women and ensure a healthy child, they would come up with more ways for women to get treatment for their drug addiction – before they become pregnant – and if not before, during pregnancy, without fear of prosecution.
    There is also a Medicaid law that needs to be repealed called the Medicaid institutes for Mental Diseases (IMD) Exclusion. An IMD is any residential treatment facility that is over 16 beds and whose primary services are for the treatment of mental illness or substance abuse. The 28-day programs are excluded, but many people need more time to get stabilized, etc. There should be no arbitrary time limit. Therapeutic Communities of America support a full repeal as does the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Treatment Advocacy Center and many other mental health/substance abuse advocacy groups.
    The ACA has a demonstration program in 15 states which allows Medicaid coverage to private psychiatric hospitals and rehab facilities but it does not extend the coverage to addiction treatment facilities.
    No other residential treatment facility is singled out to be excluded for Medicaid coverage. This is federally sanctioned discrimination and has been on the books since the enactment of Medicaid. These are the last of the disenfranchised population – criminalized. Many people with drug addictions are self medicating for the mental illness.
    The lack of appropriate resources, via an insurance ban for the neediest of people – is almost Dickensian in nature. The demonstration project in the ACA will end in 2015, and I ask all of you to urge your members of Congress to expand it to a full repeal in all 50 states.

    • purrtriarchy

      It’s just another minority to prison pipeline – Jim Crow in another form. Find any excuse to keep minorities imprisoned.

      • flan59

        Please contact your member of Congress and urge them to suoport HR3717 which provides more resources to peiole with mental illness and addictions.

        • purrtriarchy

          I am Canadian but yes, all nations should put more effort into helping the mentally ill and addicted.

    • Jody

      I absolutely agree!!

  • Namaimo

    “But”, says the Governor to his cronies, “it’s good for the prison-industrial complex … ”

    Inventing crimes is what these @#$%@#*& do best!

    Did ALEC have anything to do with this?

  • Jen

    I was wondering if anyone here could help me. See, I delivered a stillborn anencephalic child – in other words, she developed without a brain. Can anyone here tell me what the prison sentence would be for such an egregious failure on my part to deliver a viable newborn? I’d hate to escape the just punishment for deliberately causing a birth defect whose causes are unknown.

    • goatini

      Well said. The endgame for this legislation is to render EVERY female between menarche and menopause as property of the State, monitored and tracked 24/7/365, to ensure that any and all occasions of an iota of potential fetal harm (e.g., a glass of wine) are promptly detected and prosecuted. Mandatory pregnancy testing monthly for ALL females. All pregnant females sentenced to detention facilities for the duration. And this endgame is NOT an over-exaggeration – this is EXACTLY what the radical theocratic misogynist forced-birthers have in mind.

      • Jen

        It’s already started, in fact. We have a teenager in prison for delivering a baby with the cord wrapped around its neck. Another woman, in another state, locked up after *quitting*… and in court, they assign a lawyer for the “unborn child”, but none for the woman herself. Numerous women arrested and handcuffed, but not taken to jail – instead, taken to the hospital for a mandated c-section.

        If these people get their way, we will turn into Ceaușescu’s Romania – a place where women under the age of 45 were rounded up at their workplaces every one
        to three months and taken to clinics, where they were examined for signs
        of pregnancy, often in the presence of government agents. A place where those who failed to produce children were penalized up to ten percent of their salary – married or not.

        I’m lucky – my daughter’s forced birth resulted in the removal of my uterus. They can never again force me to gestate. They can, however, force my surviving daughter to do just that, and that will NOT happen on my watch.

    • Elaine Kurpiel

      Jen, I am so sorry you had to go through such a painful experience. And sorry that heartless bastards like Haslem has totally ignored women and has tried to criminalize us. Jen, please know that millions of us love you and support you in every way. We will fight people like this governor and we will win. Re: prison sentences. Haslem should be institutionalized for a lack of heart, and willingness to hurt women who are already suffering. Take care.

      • Jen

        Heh… thank you, Elaine, I really needed that.

        Faith in humanity… restored. ^_^

        • Jennifer Starr

          (((((((hugs))))))))

    • DonnaDiva

      I hate to say it but if you are white and middle class to affluent you probably have nothing to worry about even if you did engage in some behavior that harmed the fetus. This law will be prosecuted just as the so-called War on Drugs is, with poor and marginalized women being the targets of law enforcement.

      • Jen

        In that case, send the troops – because middle class was nowhere near where I was then, and thanks to Bush’s recession, we’ve lost every inch of the ground we gained after her loss.

        Sorry, kids, looks like Grandma’s going to prison. ;)

  • http://www.townandcountrygirlsrealestate.com/ Paula Denmon

    Of All the disturbing information I have read tonight (and there has been plenty for women) this is the worst. How could they dream up something so insane…so opposite of what might help. ..be constructive.

  • Art947

    This bum deserves a lethal injection!

    • bbroome62

      Please leave your sexual preferences out of this conversation.

      • Arekushieru

        Please leave your strawmen out of this conversation, then.

  • Jody

    How about jailing men who impregnate a woman while on drugs??

  • Jody

    I think this Senator’s Mother should be arrested! She must have been doing drugs to have produced such a a nitwit!!!

  • stcroixcarp

    Won’t this force women into getting abortions?

  • Bethany Spielman

    Wow another sexist loser. Go figure. They don’t care about women obviously.

  • Debmcd

    What is wrong with people from the middle of this country. It’s like aliens came in the middle of the night and stole everyones good sense. What a bunch of mindless stupid toe rags. They could care less that some of their constituents die. It’s okay by them.

    • bbroome62

      Actually you big city coastal types think that the laws you apparently “need”, as it must be hard for the authorities to control such massive masses, and should apply to the rest of the nation, are the folks who are out of step with us other 40-something states. The civil war didn’t quite have the effect you were looking for. Please feel free though, to keep trying to curb human nature through social engineering.

      • Jennifer Starr

        Is there an actual point inside all this word salad?

      • Arekushieru

        Oh, so there are still millions of slaves living in the southern states of the US? Please, tell me where they’re hiding, then? And, sorry, but human ‘nature’ was socially engineered from the first time homo sapiens walked the earth. Oops.

  • AmyE

    Ugh. This dude doesn’t realize that this bill will cause abortions. (Or maybe he does, doesn’t care, and just likes sending people to jail.) Women who have drug problems are going to be more likely to abort because they don’t want to risk an investigation that could land them in prison. This isn’t going to solve drug problems.

  • Patricia Zimmerman

    Women are being harmed in the courts, even in California, where I live. Children are being taken from their mothers all the time without any reason at all – for losing jobs, I even met a women who lost her children temporarily because her “house was a little cluttered”, according to her social worker. Mostly women are losing children in court here because their husband, tired of playing house and wanting out, maligns them to the court. No substantiation needed. The word of a man is all they need to condemn any woman in a California court.

    More than this, parental rights (in good and loving families) are being threatened nationwide – note the Justina Pelletier case in Massachusetts and the baby Sammy case in Sacramento, CA. Such cases of inappropriate state intrusion into healthy families are becoming commonplace. Do not blame only these lunatics in Tennessee.

    This appears to be something the federal government is seeking, despite pretenses to the contrary. Tennessee has just found another way to criminalize women in the process – bringing in more money for the legal system, the prison system, CPS and….?

    In fact, red states are taking the initiative in stopping this kind of nonsense. Oklahoma just joined a small but growing list of conservative states to initiate and/or pass legislation to protect families from these state intrusions. It is typically the blue states that believe wholeheartedly in the system and are unwilling to acknowledge these abuses. (see: parentalrights.org and fclu.org.) Massachusetts is infamous for being one of the worst offenders. I imagine that California cannot be far behind.

    The point being that it is not really a blue state/red state issue, but a national problem that cannot be pinned on one party or the other. Such abuses are happening throughout the UK, as well.

    When MSNBC – liberal mouthpiece to the nation (I have been a lifelong liberal, by the way) – announced recently that kids belong, not to their parents, but to the community, they were trying to facilitate public acceptance of these state intrusions into families. Big Brother loves to control children and parents, it turns out, and virtually everything else. Americans need to fight back against this horrible trend and become more and more aware of these crimes against good families.

    I hope that some kids in need are still being helped by the social service system, but it has been so thoroughly corrupted in this despicable fashion that it is impossible to have any faith in them anymore.

    http://www.infowars.com/your-kids-belong-to-the-collective/

    • Arekushieru

      Oh, please. If you were a liberal, I’m a Marxist. Which is totally not what I am. Children don’t belong TO their parents. They are not objects to be sold or bought. Which is where this idea of state intrusion ACTUALLY arises from, y’know, things like adoption, foster care, removal of children from homes, custody cases, etc…. And what Melissa Harris Perry was talking about was providing supports to children, ESPECIALLY those from low income families. Which politicians from Red States have mostly deigned to weaken by cutting supports to social programs like TANF, SNAP, WIC, etc…. That’s state intrusion at its worst. What blue states have typically done is allowed poorer women to access the same quality of services as everyone else. That’s not state intrusion. That’s a market where under-served people are able to access the supports they need in order to provide their children with the basic necessities. Removing children from homes (state intrusion, therefore, at its finest) is a result of GUTTING those supports.

      Homeschooling is just another example of what happens when children are considered the property of their parents. Home education is the only thing that parents ever advocate over which they should have control. But, what about home medicine? Oh, no, that would affect the parents who are ‘actually’ people, too, not just the children who are not. Which is also typically something that happens in Red states which claim that fetuses are persons, kinda proving the Pro-Choice and/or more Liberal-minded folks that personhood begins at conception and ends at birth for the Pro-’Life’ and/or more Conservative-minded crowd.

      Next time, please provide better stats for your claims that children were removed from their homes just because the ‘house was a little cluttered’ and links to sites other than right-wing fundamentalist news organizations.

  • Suba gunawardana

    What’s all the fuss about? People addicted to drugs (prescription or otherwise) have NO business reproducing. Time to get help for drug addiction is before you get pregnant.

    In the words, a real parent would choose the baby over drugs. If you cannot, that’s what abortion is for.

    • Arekushieru

      Um, I usually agree with you, 100%, Suba, but I absolutely cannot agree with this statement in any shape or form. The Pro-Choice movement is about women’s rights and the right for EVERY woman to decide on an individual basis whether or not to terminate or continue a pregnancy to term, not just those whose actions we agree with. Many women who are addicted to drugs probably have the same difficulty determining if and when they are pregnant as those who are not. Addiction is a mental illness that requires support not legislative boundaries that put the onus (or responsibility) on the shoulders of those who exist on the receiving end of addictions to solve a problem created by those who enabled the addictive behaviour in the first place. Furthermore, women may become addicted to drugs AFTER a pregnancy starts, after all, there are studies that show that women are not only more likely to experience depression after giving birth, but also during pregnancy. Finally, legislation like this discriminates between men and women, not only because it will make it easier for women to be reported for their drug addictions, but also because women will be punished twice for their drug addictions, simply because they have a uterus. ,

      • Suba gunawardana

        I certainly see your point, and this law could be a sneaky prelude to the notorious “fetal person-hood” laws (as is typical with the dirty tactics of the South).

        However I still have no objection to this law as it currently stands, due to the following reasons:

        -The right to carry a pregnancy should not extend to ABUSING the fetus, thereby the future child.

        -Rights go hand in hand with responsibilities. The decision to carry a pregnancy is a commitment to become a parent, i.e. a commitment made to the future child to always put them first.

        -Yes addiction is an illness which needs help. Addicts should be provided with help but NOT be allowed to endanger/abuse others.

        -It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Also illegal to do any responsible work under the influence. Why is it not illegal to breed & raise children under the influence? It SHOULD be. Children are far more vulnerable than all other people endangered by intoxicated drivers or workers.

        • Arekushieru

          The right to carrying a pregnancy does not extend to criminalizing women simply because the maternal to fetal blood supply is transferred across the uterine and placental barrier, especially (but *only* especially) because it is initiated by the fetus. And that’s what I meant. Women should be held no more ‘responsible’ for the presence of a physiological function (or how it takes place) in their bodies than any other human population groups. By criminalizing women with addictions, you are differentiating them from men from whom punishment is withheld for, unknowingly or even knowingly, putting someone else at risk due to a failure of some kind to a specific function. For example, men who damage their livers by drinking would neither have been required to donate their livers to their children even if they were the only match and their livers WERE functional NOR punished for damaging it in such a way that it could not be transferred to the child, anyways. Why is it that having a uterus should be the only circumstance to be able to change that fact?

          A ‘commitment to carrying a pregnancy’ (or, rather, more truthfully, a decision to NOT terminate the pregnancy) is only that, btw, a ‘commitment to carrying the pregnancy’. If it were a commitment to becoming a parent, in the manner you described, that would put surrogates in an untenable position. Uncomfortably, it almost approaches a Handmaid’s Tale outlook on pregnancy, especially when it is being carried by other women.

          I should tell you that you are talking to one of those who neither believes in maintaining the illegal status of drugs NOR in penalizing addictive *behaviours*. I do NOT believe that that will prevent future child endangerment and I also don’t believe that that is the socially responsible thing to do, where things should work from the top down, as I outlined in my previous post.

          Finally, with laws such as the one being proposed in the article, they are going beyond (in fact, I would go so far as to say actively ignoring) any issues surrounding child endangerment and penalizing women, and women only, especially poor women of colour, with addictive behaviours.

          • Suba gunawardana

            Unlike the right to terminate a pregnancy, the right to carry a pregnancy involves a future life, whose well-being should be considered. The choice to have children is an ACTIVE decision, made with the knowledge that it involves another person. Anyone who CHOOSES to breed should automatically have the responsibility of ensuring the safety and well-being of the offspring. Otherwise it’s just a free-for-all for child abuse.

            “The right to carrying a pregnancy does not extend to criminalizing women simply because the maternal to fetal blood supply is transferred across the uterine and placental barrier, especially (but *only* especially) because it is initiated by the fetus.”

            Criminalization in this case is for the act of knowingly endangering a fetus you CHOSE to carry. While the initiation of fetal blood connection may not be within the woman’s control, its continuation was her active choice. She can always terminate it if she so wishes, rather than expose a future child to drugs. Yes I know of all the restrictions on abortion, which SHOULDN’T be there.

            “Women should be held no more ‘responsible’ for the presence of a physiological function (or how it takes place) in their bodies than any other human population groups.”

            Personally I think any and all people who choose to breed or raise children should be held to the exact same HIGH standards. i.e. Anyone who wishes to be a parent (biological foster or adoptive) should be mentally physically & financially fit for that responsibility, which includes not being intoxicated. While a few people may be able to function while intoxicated, the majority can’t, and end up harming those in their care. Children are not possessions to use & abuse. Idiots’ right
            to breed should not supersede the safety and well-being of children.

            “Why is it that having a uterus should be the only circumstance to be able to change that fact?”

            It’s not. There are many laws to prevent people endangering others through their own intoxication, such as drunk driving laws. They are not different for men & women. Neither are the laws on alcohol on the job. Would you mind a surgeon operating on you being impaired? Unfortunately these laws ignore the most vulnerable of individuals, children and animals. People who take care of vulnerable individuals should not be intoxicated or otherwise impaired, and gender should not matter.

            “If it were a commitment to becoming a parent, in the manner you described, that would put surrogates in an untenable position.”

            Even with surrogacy, it’s an active decision to carry a fetus, in this case for someone else. That fetus is wanted, and is meant to become someone’s child. I’m sure the parents would not want the fetus exposed to drugs in-utero, malnourished, or mistreated in any way. Anyone voluntarily carrying a wanted fetus has a certain responsibility to ensure the safety & well-being of that fetus.

            “I should tell you that you are talking to one of those who neither believes in maintaining the illegal status of drugs NOR in penalizing addictive *behaviours*.”

            In my opinion people should be free to use drugs if they wish, but they should NOT have the right to expose others to drugs without their consent, or cause harm to others due to your own intoxication. In other words, your right to use drugs should never impinge on the safety & well-being of others, as with any other right. Same with religion. People have freedom of religion, but we have a big problem of them cramming it down other people’s throats.

          • purrtriarchy

            Throw men in jail for fetal alcohol sperm should they choose to breed.

            And whilst you are at it, imprison people with genetic diseases who choose to breed, knowing that they could create a sick child.

          • Suba gunawardana

            The former is a good idea if it could ever be enforced :)

            The latter is debatable considering genetic disease is not within your control. However if I was the one with genetic disease I would certainly choose not to pass it on.

          • purrtriarchy

            If a person has a genetic disease and breeds anyway knowing that it can be passed along is abuse.

          • Suba gunawardana

            Agreed.

  • bbroome62

    Have the powers that be defined at what point life begins?
    This could be a BIG step in the right direction for pro lifers.

    • Arekushieru

      Wrong. Whether a fetus is alive or not, is IRRELEVANT. Get that through your thick skulls, please, antis.

  • bbroome62

    You sound disappointed. Maybe if you go out and kill a baby you will feel better.

    • http://twitter.com/amntn Biscuit!

      Fun Fact: infants ≠ fetuses.

    • Jennifer Starr

      If you know of anyone who is actually killing babies, I suggest you call the police. No one is talking about that here.

  • http://twitter.com/amntn Biscuit!

    The same groups who are cheering this nonsense will be utterly baffled when the number of kids in schools who have learning issues skyrockets.

  • justine

    It’s sad. My family is from the deep south. But more and more, the south is beginning to resemble third world nations. El Salvador has a similar law and locks up women who miscarry.