Aristotle's Child

Risk, resiliency and the parent/child relationship

Marijuana Use in Pregnancy: Implications for State Laws

Use of marijuana during pregnancy places the pregnancy and the child at risk. New and emerging state medical marijuana laws must recognize and communicate that risk. Read More

Women, even pregnant women,

Women, even pregnant women, are in charge of their bodies and do not need laws or men ordering them how to live.

Ted Cruz called, he wants his anti-choice bumper sticker back

Use of marijuana during pregnancy places the pregnancy and the child at risk.

The "child"? Sorry doc, but I agree with the other commenter above. Women have every right to own their bodies and decide what they want to do and what is best for them. If a pregnant woman smokes pot, what are you going to do, charge her with "child" abuse? Of what "child" do you speak, exactly? Last I checked, we in the States do (for now) still have a little thing called Roe v. Wade on the books, which established that the woman's bodily autonomy takes precedent over bullshit existential fears of what may happen to her hypothetical "child." The law says that a fetus -- the proper term -- is not a "child" until 20 weeks into the pregnancy; I would contend that the definition should not be used until the head pops out. Belgium and the Netherlands recognize that the infant is a "child," but give authority for postnatal euthanasia to the MOTHER for up to a year if the infant turns out to have disabilities or an otherwise impaired quality of life. Once again, authority and autonomy goes where it should and doesn't have anything to do with BS moral garbage about what women should or shouldn't be allowed to do. (I see no criticism of men smoking pot and altering their sperm.)

But I guess you have no problem with, say, a cancer-stricken pregnant woman ingesting powerful chemo drugs that cause nausea and other unbearable side effects (which can be ameliorated with use of cannabis), as long as she doesn't do any naughty "illegal" drugs -- which more often than not come from farms and not factories. I am sick and tired of this pro-natalist garbage being trotted out in this day and age. Now we've got a bona fide shrink crying think of the children? Which aren't even technically "children" but amorphous lumps of snot? Where the fuck did this author go to medical school? The Vatican? Bob Jones? Afghanistan?

I'm appalled.

I too am a woman. If a woman knows she is pregnant (or suspects that she may be pregnant) and then consciously chooses to engage in extensive, frequent recreational drug/alchohol use, then she is committing a form of physical abuse on her developing fetus in my opinion.

A developing fetus is likely to be born (if it survives at all) with severe physical and/or mental defects if the mother engages in such behaviors.

So in my opinion in areas where marijuana is available as a legal prescription drug, it should be treated like *any other legal prescription drug*: there should be sufficient regulation, quality control, tracking of use/prescription refills, etc.

Doctors are trained to know that some medications are absolutely prohibited for women who are pregnant, likely to become pregnant, or breast-feeding because there ARE substances/chemicals that are well known to cause birth defects or harm a nursing infant.

IF that also pertains to marijuana, it should become public knowledge. (The public has heard of thalidomide causing birth defects, and alcohol causing fetal alcohol syndrome, as a couple of examples.)

My own personal opinion is that a woman who knowingly puts her fetus at risk should be charged with child maltreatment when the infant is born horribly deformed or otherwise damaged, suffering and in pain due to the presence of drugs/alcohol during development.

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Ira J. Chasnoff, M.D., is a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago. His most recent work is The Mystery of Risk.


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