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A Montana Prosecutor Wants To Jail Moms-To-Be Who Drink Or Do Drugs

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and different main medical teams  Big Horn County’s proposed crackdown as “ineffective” and “harmful.”

“These sort of issues come up periodically. People need to reply to the opioid disaster, or the issues associated to drug use in being pregnant, with these type of punitive responses, however there actually is zero scientific proof that this can work,” stated Dr. Lauren Jansson, director of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center’s Center for Addiction and Pregnancy.

In reality, incarcerating expectant mothers might finally contribute to the health issues the coverage goals to resolve, she advised HuffPost.

“Any time you try and separate the well-being of the fetus from the well-being of the mother, you get into a kind of slippery slope,” the physician stated. “The fetus relies on stable maternal physiology to properly develop, and if you put a woman with an addiction disorder under constant stress — if you put them in jail, if you deny them treatment, if you deny them medication — that’s not going to be optimal for the fetus.”

Addiction specialists warn that a prosecutorial strategy additionally perpetuates the concept habit is an ethical failing or a nasty selection. Jansson balked on the notion of a prosecutor’s workplace urging different residents to report on pregnant women, likening it to the attitudes behind the Salem witch trials.

Worry Among Local Health Care Providers

Big Horn County’s proposed coverage will solely dissuade pregnant women grappling with habit from looking for the prenatal care they want for worry they’ll be punished, in response to Dr. Tersh McCracken, an OB-GYN in Billings, Montana.

The county is a low-resource, sparsely populated space with no hospitals that provide obstetric care, he stated, so women already journey greater than an hour to Billings to ship their infants. That is usually a vital problem logistically and financially.

“This is a reaction by the county attorney to a very real problem, but it’s the wrong solution,” McCracken argued. “It drives a wedge between a patient and her physicians or other care providers. I think it would delay or prevent women from seeking prenatal care, and they already have huge barriers.”

Eric Sell, a consultant with the Montana Department of Justice, advised HuffPost that Harris didn’t the division earlier than he introduced the coverage and that Montana Attorney General Tim Fox believes it’s counterproductive.

While county attorneys usually can suggest insurance policies as they see match, Sell stated, “our brief analysis of this is that the legal grounds on which Jay Harris has proposed this policy are quite suspect. It still hasn’t been decided yet by a judge if this is legal, but it’s quite dubious at this point.”

The ACLU of Montana has promised to problem the prosecutor in courtroom. 

In an e mail to HuffPost, Harris stated he was ready to answer any authorized arguments earlier than a decide and indicated that he has not been swayed by the general public pushback.

“Our issue is not with the [American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists], but with the problems associated with clouded and harmful decision-making by expecting mothers brought on by alcoholism and drug addiction,” he stated. 

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