Fetus Punishment

Topics: Pregnancy, Fetus, Abortion Pages: 2 (566 words) Published: April 13, 2014


Week 3
Should a Pregnant Woman Be Punished for Exposing Her Fetus to Risk? HSM524

The problem at hand is “Should a Pregnant Woman be Punished for Exposing Her Fetus to Risk? This article presented me with two different opinions. There is Jean Toal, from Majority Opinion, Cornelia Whitner, Respondent, v. State of South Carolina, Petitioner (July 15, 1997). The other opinion comes from Lynn M. Paltrow, from “Punishment and Prejudice: Judging Drug-Using Pregnant Women,” in Julia E. Hanigsberg and Sara Ruddick, eds., Mother Troubles: Rethinking Contemporary Maternal Dilemmas (Beacon Press, 1999). There has been much debate surrounding this issue. The first case is involving Cornelia Whitner who pled guilty to criminal child neglect after her baby was born addicted to crack cocaine. (Whitner v. SC) The main focus here is the definition of “Person”. South Carolina for the longest has recognized that viable fetuses fit the definition of a “person”. Therefore the courts had no difficulty in holding the mother responsible for the neglect of the child. Ms. Whitner also argued that her pleading guilty and her drug use being made known was a violation of her right to privacy. Pozgar talks about the Privacy Act of 1974 which was enacted to safeguard individual privacy from the misuse of federal records, to give individuals’ access to records concerning themselves that re maintained by federal agencies and to establish a Privacy Protection Safety Commission. (Pozgar, 2011). However, this author based on all the evidence presented doesn’t believed her rights were violated being that crack cocaine is an illegal substance that she should not have had in her possession in the first place. The second argument contradicts the crack baby syndrome of the late eighties and nineties. This arguments shows alcohol and cigarettes can have even greater risks than that of cocaine. Studies have shown that cocaine seems to act more...

References: 1. Time Magazine (13 May 1991)
2. Pozgar, G. D. (2012). Legal aspects of health care administration. (11 ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
3. “Punishment and Prejudice: Judging Drug-Using Pregnant Women,” in Julia E. Hanigsberg and Sara Ruddick, eds., Mother Troubles: Rethinking Contemporary Maternal Dilemmas (Beacon Press, 1999)
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