General Question

frigate1985's avatar

Would you prosecute mothers who smoke during their pregnancies?

Asked by frigate1985 (927points) May 23rd, 2009 from iPhone

I was just curious about how people would answer this problem :)

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27 Answers

Saturated_Brain's avatar

I’m inclined to say yes, but think of the huge mess that’ll result in trying to enforce this law..

1. At what point in pregnancy is the mother liable for prosecution? When the sperm joins with the egg? When she misses her period? What if she doesn’t even know that she’s pregnant?
2. Doing that is effectively curing the mom of her addiction (I mean, not smoking for nine months?!). She’ll be suffering from withdrawal symptoms for a significant period of her pregnancy (and knows what effects that’ll have on the baby?)
3. You might as well stop all mothers from smoking as even after the baby is born the mother will be breastfeeding it and taking care of it for a long time. Heck, might as well just ban smoking all together. And now think of the even huger mess that will cause.

Staalesen's avatar

By using common sense…
No need to legislate everything..

frigate1985's avatar

yeah, but wouldn’t the mothers just ignore the law and smoke in basements or something?

jackfright's avatar

what is it with the trigger happy lot?

no, lets not prosecute mothers please.
thank you.

Staalesen's avatar

Yes, there is still room for free will in this world I hope…
or shall we prosecute everyonr that does not meet some personal standards, thus crating a world order with a bunch ”├╝bermenchen” to guide our morals and conduct ?
Just because something is bad, dont mean that it should be illegal…

frigate1985's avatar

@jackfright not to be mean but
The fetus, as a human, has rights to get protection against harms right? so shouldn’t the mothers get prosecuted if they are harming the child intentionally?

frigate1985's avatar

@Staalesen of course we shouldn’t control eerything. But as a way to protect the fetus, we have to make that law in my opinion. If freedom is so important ad we should not be guided by some rules, we should be allowed to kill, rob, swear, beat up, sell drugs ad stuffs like that don’t you think?

Bluefreedom's avatar

No, I wouldn’t prosecute them because they’re already going to attract a lot of disdain and probably get grief from everyday people who know that someone who smokes while pregnant isn’t making very sound choices for the health of their unborn child. Prosecution would just be adding insult to injury in this case, in my humble opinion.

frigate1985's avatar

@Bluefreedom indeed…but wouldn’t this law give them the chance to quit smoking once and for all?

Staalesen's avatar

Well, in my opinion all that drive fast cars are risking others lives, so I want them jailed for potentialy harming others… same logic… :p

Bluefreedom's avatar

@frigate1985. Yes it would but it’s like you’re forcing them to involuntarily quit the habit without them having a choice in it at all and that would be like restricting their freedoms by having the government say what they can and can’t do with their own bodies. That’s dangerous territory.

jackfright's avatar

@frigate1985 alright man, you’re right. we should prosecute them. we should have someone follow them around to monitor their smoking behaviour. then maybe give them a small fine and or some time doing community service (i hope you’re not considering a harsher form of punishment), both of which will be of great assistance to the baby.

sarcasm aside, apart from being impractical to implement, wouldn’t it be better to offer assistance to mothers instead? i understand your desire to help the baby, but i do not think prosecution of the mother is an effective way to do it.

Staalesen's avatar

@frigate1985 and thats is not rules, rulesare there to protect the civilixation you live in, not a bunch of cells…
But anyhow, It is not a good thing to smoke, but if we prosecute for such, what is next ?
the death penalty for persons who release dangerous vapors into the air, like an automobile driver ?
Jailing of those who take a beer while preggers `

frigate1985's avatar

you guys are all convincing ;)
it will be hard to catch the mommas :( But I really do wish that nobody would smoke on earth or drink alcohol…

rooeytoo's avatar

I just recently read where men who drink and smoke produce less than optimal sperm. So I think if we are going to prosecute women who smoke or drink during pregnancy, all men who smoked or drank before impregnating a woman should be prosecuted as well. After all the child is going to have a lower IQ and be smaller, etc. etc.

It never fails to amaze me that children of my generation and those who came before managed to survive our childhoods with parents who smoked while pregnant and impregnating, didn’t breastfeed, didn’t childproof the house, smacked us on the bottom when we misbehaved, we still all survived and managed to be productive members of society!

mattbrowne's avatar

I would create a huge ethical problem. The mother is harming the unborn baby, no doubt. But because she’s addicted to nicotine she has lost her free will (at least to a high degree). So allow me to rephrase this to a new (hypothetical) questions:

Would you prosecute people who start smoking?

They still have the free will not to do it.

Seriously, I don’t think we need tougher laws. We need better parenting, better education, more intelligent prevention programs. We need to show how people can experience joy without wreaking total havoc with their neurotransmitter systems.

jrpowell's avatar

Toss them in jail.. Fucking perfectly stupid. No wonder we have 2 million in jail.

How about some free patches and counseling?

casheroo's avatar

I was quite paranoid while pregnant, I followed all the rules of what to eat and what not to eat (well, I did have an addiction to ice cream…)
Not everyone believes in that though. You can’t charge them with anything, and like someone else stated, how far along would the mother have to be until you could charge her? That’s putting a label on when life starts, and that’s just a clusterfuck.
So, no.

TaoSan's avatar

uh oh, not touching that one. It turned into a flamewar before…

dynamicduo's avatar

No more than I would prosecute mothers and fathers who smoke around their children, or feed them fatty foods, or don’t do any exercise together, or who cause mental abuse, etc. Which is to say, no, because you become morality police, and this is simply impossible as everyone has different morals.

SuperMouse's avatar

In my mind, a better answer than prosecution is education.

Staalesen's avatar

In MY mind it is more like let people mind their own buisness, atleast to an extent…

tinyfaery's avatar

What? No one has any right to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body.

cak's avatar

Prosecute them? Cause additional stress to their pregnancy (that can endanger the unborn baby, too) and throw them in jail? A lot of free time, to smoke? No, this doesn’t sound like a good plan.

How about helping them with their addiction? Teaching them how to live life without smoking? Let’s look for ways to build up, not tear down.

frigate1985's avatar

@rooeytoo Hmm some countries allow parents to beat their kids up you know…spanking is a rather minor for of punishment..a friend of mine once got beaten up by a golf…stick? driver? club? Oh yeah club. Sucks :(

BBQsomeCows's avatar

bring up this potential legislation after abolishing pill popping infanticide (all chemical- and mechanical female “birth” control)

Staalesen's avatar

@BBQsomeCows Thats harsh….
Bring it up after eradicating all fanatics instead… Oh, wait…

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