by Ashley Murphy
I often stay very confused in this world. Sometimes I have to wonder if I'm the stupid one, or if it's the rest of the world that's lost its mind. So many things baffle me in our society.
With that being said, Governor Bill Haslam has recently signed a bill into legislation here in Tennessee. This particular bill will allow criminal charges to be brought against pregnant women who abuse drugs, potentially causing harm to their babies, and in many cases, giving birth to babies who are "addicted" to whatever substance the mother has been putting into her body.
Several organizations have been highly outspoken in their opposition of this particular bill, citing concerns with prenatal care and abortion.
This is where the common sense part starts to emerge. How is prenatal care helping those who are addicted, and going to a doctor for this care, if they stay addicted to the drugs and continue to harm their baby? Maybe some do care about the wellbeing of their child and want to get better. But what about those who care more about themselves and will continue to do harm to their body and to another body?
This bill actually states that a mother can avoid charges if she seeks help! Why is this a bad thing?
I can understand some of the concerns, but clearly doing nothing isn't helping either. Studies have shown neonatal abstinence syndrome here in Tennessee has been on the rise ever since the epidemic of "crack babies" in the 1980's.
I would actually like to see what this bill does in our state. A person can be taken to jail for doing drugs or abusing a child, but can't be punished for harming an innocent, vulnerable, unborn fetus inside their body. This fetus cannot protect itself. That is the mother's job. The fetus relies solely on its mother for protection and care. And when the mother knowingly harms that fetus, I absolutely believe she should be punished.
The issue of abortion is something to be concerned about. Abortion is another one of those on-the-fence topics for me. But if a woman is so selfish and stupid that she would rather abort a baby, rather than seek help at an addiction center to avoid these misdemeanor charges, do you really think she would be capable of raising a child with her issues? No.
And, before I get eaten alive for that statement, I understand it is one of those contradictory issues. I believe that the women should be held accountable for leaving her child addicted to drugs, but not held accountable for aborting her baby. It's a completely different topic, but just to make my point here clear, the child will be born addicted to drugs. It will be born! It will be born and will have complications and a chance of a lifelong negative side effect. Under certain circumstances would it not be more humane to save that child from those effects and selfish, uncaring people who have no desire to change?
People say addiction is a sickness, a disease. That it needs to be treated as such. I disagree, wholeheartedly. You can say I don't understand, because I've never been through it. That's fine. But I still will disagree 100% that addiction is a disease. Addiction is about selfishness. It's the next high. It's caring more about yourself than anything or anyone else in the entire world. And I just can't classify selfishness as a sickness. I believe sickness and disease are those that cannot be cured just by will. The only way to cure addiction, is to want to. It can't be done medically. It's all about will and control.
The bill can be revisited in 2016. Until then, let's see what happens. There's really no right or wrong here, because it's all right and it's all wrong.