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Tennessee Mother Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison For Using Meth While Pregnant

Rating:
5/5,
  1. Rob Cypher
    A woman in Tennessee has been sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison for making and using methamphetamine while pregnant, reports WVLT.

    In an effort to crack down on drug use during pregnancy, a new state law has deemed it a crime to abuse drugs while pregnant. Lacey Weld, 27, of Dandridge, is the second mother this week to be held accountable for using meth while pregnant. Weld pleaded guilty in November to federal charges and video evidence was provided in court that showed the mother spending about 40 minutes cooking and using meth in a meth lab while pregnant. The mom was reportedly nine months pregnant at the time, reports WBIR.

    Police say Weld’s baby was born addicted to the drug and suffered withdrawals for six weeks.

    She was sentenced on Tuesday in a federal court in Knoxville. Prosecutors say they wanted an even more severe sentence for Weld because of how she harmed her baby. A case manager from the Department of Children’s Services said that, out of 50 cases involving drug-dependent babies, this one was “by far the worst.”

    U.S. Attorney William C. Killian released the following statement shortly after Weld’s sentence:

    Lisa Fogarty
    Opposing Views
    July 20, 2014

    http://www.opposingviews.com/i/soci...sing-meth-while-pregnant#sthash.lCOaivxf.dpuf

Comments

  1. 5-HT2A
    What a disgrace this sentence is. Granted, this woman has no business becoming pregnant and should be held accountable. But 12 years, and they wanted a harsher sentence? I could maybe understand 2 years, but you are basically throwing away over a decade of her life because she had a runaway addiction. "Sending a message" is merely code for cruelty without cause. It will have NO effect on the number of women who do this. If you are balls deep in meth addiction, you need some serious mandatory rehab. There is no evidence that such deterrents work.

    I personally do not know the consequences of using meth while pregnant on the baby, but 6 weeks of withdrawal, although horrible, is not necessarily going to ruin this baby's entire life. They have not even demonstrated long-term harm here, they are only going by "substantial risk of harm" because she manufactured it. So we are basically talking about a high degree of child endangerment. Wonder how they got that video.

    Also it says that the new law is a state law, and yet she is being sentenced in federal court. Did anyone figure that one out? I sure didn't.
  2. MikePatton
    We know today that addiction is a disease. Therefore, putting someone in jail for 12 years because they have a disease is just ignorant and evil. Forcing her to go to rehab would be completely legitimate, cost much, much less than keeping her in prison for 12 years, and would be far better for all parties involved in the long run.

    This is just portraying illicit drug addicts as completely evil, as opposed to legal drug addics which are excused. Fetal alcohol syndrome can be far worse for the baby than Meth, leaving it horribly disfigured for life. But do they give the same sentence to pregnant alcoholics? What about Tobacco use during pregnancy?
  3. Diverboone
    The headline misleads the reader. On a closer look she was sentenced in Federal Court. She was sentenced for some meth related crime, the prosecutor was attempting to use her meth use will pregnant as a mitigating factor to increase the harshness of the sentence.

    Tennessee just recently passed laws addressing this issue and the first arrest was just last month. I'm in total disagreement with Tennessee's law and wrote the following when it first appeared on DF;

    Sometimes I wonder why I claim Tennessee as my home. Welcome to the State that you no longer confer with your medical provider/doctor concerning pregnancy related issues. Apparently our legislators believe they re more qualified.

    If you actually believe this is about the safety and health of newborns why does it fail to include the two drugs that are responsible for more negative pregnancy related issues, tobacco and alcohol. Tobacco and alcohol related pregnancy issues out number all the drugs this law covers. Is it not absurd that the 2 substances that are just as harmful if not more harmful than any illicit drug, and negatively affect more pregnancies and newborns than all other drug combined, is not mentioned? With this in mind, how could anyone in their right mind believe this law is about preventing harm?

    I believe we could start by removing the word "addiction" when referencing newborns. I hear this often, even during the debates over this law. By definition a child can not be born with an addiction.


    Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. A newborn is not capable of such behavior. A newborn may be born dependent. Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is one of the two diagnosable medical conditions that is a direct result of drug use by the expecting mother. The other is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.


    On the basis of popular literature, warning labels, and general confidence in the advances of modern medicine, many people wrongly believe that women have a high degree of control over their pregnancy outcomes. For example, the best selling pregnancy advice book What to Expect When You’re Expecting warns women to avoid contact with anyone who is smoking, changing a cat litter box, consuming unpasteurized cheese or undercooked meat, gardening without gloves, inhaling when handling household cleaning products, and ingesting caffeine, thereby creating the illusion that women who conform to all proscriptions can guarantee a healthy pregnancy outcome.


    The longstanding and constant medical reality, however, is that as many as 20-30 percent of all pregnancies will end in miscarriage or stillbirth. In fact, stillbirth is one of the most common adverse outcomes of pregnancy, and it occurs despite the best intentions and numerous precautions taken by individual women.


    No one would deny parents play a significant role in the health and well-being of their child, both before and after birth. But … every day in America women who did everything “right” during pregnancy that is, they got good prenatal care, they were married to the father of the child,
    their neither smoked nor drank nor abused drugs nevertheless give birth to babies with birth defects or low birth weight. … Scientific progress in understanding the causes of some birth defects inclines people to overestimate what is known, but the truth is that more than 60 percent of all birth defects are of unknown origin.


    This brings about the question. What will be the standard of proof that the mothers drug use was responsible for less than perfect outcomes? The mother's liberty is at risk, also the family unit, Along with the health of the newborn being in question, how could anyone in the medical field state with any degree of certainty that the mothers drug use was conclusively the cause of a factual medical issue with her newborn.


    My opinion is that this law is not backed by science. It's based upon opinion, with an ulterior motive aimed at gaining votes and public support. Also I highly question the Governments attempts to control the health decisions of expecting mothers. Those decisions are best discussed with and determined by someone with a medical degree.


    If we continue to allow laws such as this, we can expect to see legal actions taken against obese expecting mothers. Obesity and it's related issues are responsible for many more negative child births. Obesity is a choice, just as drug use is. But the risk, deaths and cost related to Obesity far succeed all illicit drug use combined. It's a slippery slope when the Government attempts to legislate populations health.


    We should not sit ideally by. The well being of expectant mothers and their newborns needs to be addressed. Criminal sanctions and incarceration is not how families are mended and prosper. The criminal justice system is a total failure within it's self. Nor has jurisprudence been effecting treating medical and often mental conditions. Doctors spend many years gaining their education in order to guide us with medical advice. So why would we allow legislators that did not take into consideration that most prominent medical associations were not in agreement with this law, A law that's very likely to cause more harm than help.
  4. Diverboone
    The headline misleads the reader. On a closer look she was sentenced in Federal Court. She was sentenced for some meth related crime, the prosecutor was attempting to use her meth use will pregnant as a mitigating factor to increase the harshness of the sentence.

    Tennessee just recently passed laws addressing this issue and the first arrest was just last month. I'm in total disagreement with Tennessee's law and wrote the following when it first appeared on DF;

    Sometimes I wonder why I claim Tennessee as my home. Welcome to the State that you no longer confer with your medical provider/doctor concerning pregnancy related issues. Apparently our legislators believe they re more qualified.

    If you actually believe this is about the safety and health of newborns why does it fail to include the two drugs that are responsible for more negative pregnancy related issues, tobacco and alcohol. Tobacco and alcohol related pregnancy issues out number all the drugs this law covers. Is it not absurd that the 2 substances that are just as harmful if not more harmful than any illicit drug, and negatively affect more pregnancies and newborns than all other drug combined, is not mentioned? With this in mind, how could anyone in their right mind believe this law is about preventing harm?

    I believe we could start by removing the word "addiction" when referencing newborns. I hear this often, even during the debates over this law. By definition a child can not be born with an addiction.


    Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. A newborn is not capable of such behavior. A newborn may be born dependent. Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is one of the two diagnosable medical conditions that is a direct result of drug use by the expecting mother. The other is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.


    On the basis of popular literature, warning labels, and general confidence in the advances of modern medicine, many people wrongly believe that women have a high degree of control over their pregnancy outcomes. For example, the best selling pregnancy advice book What to Expect When You’re Expecting warns women to avoid contact with anyone who is smoking, changing a cat litter box, consuming unpasteurized cheese or undercooked meat, gardening without gloves, inhaling when handling household cleaning products, and ingesting caffeine, thereby creating the illusion that women who conform to all proscriptions can guarantee a healthy pregnancy outcome.


    The longstanding and constant medical reality, however, is that as many as 20-30 percent of all pregnancies will end in miscarriage or stillbirth. In fact, stillbirth is one of the most common adverse outcomes of pregnancy, and it occurs despite the best intentions and numerous precautions taken by individual women.


    No one would deny parents play a significant role in the health and well-being of their child, both before and after birth. But … every day in America women who did everything “right” during pregnancy that is, they got good prenatal care, they were married to the father of the child,
    their neither smoked nor drank nor abused drugs nevertheless give birth to babies with birth defects or low birth weight. … Scientific progress in understanding the causes of some birth defects inclines people to overestimate what is known, but the truth is that more than 60 percent of all birth defects are of unknown origin.


    This brings about the question. What will be the standard of proof that the mothers drug use was responsible for less than perfect outcomes? The mother's liberty is at risk, also the family unit, Along with the health of the newborn being in question, how could anyone in the medical field state with any degree of certainty that the mothers drug use was conclusively the cause of a factual medical issue with her newborn.


    My opinion is that this law is not backed by science. It's based upon opinion, with an ulterior motive aimed at gaining votes and public support. Also I highly question the Governments attempts to control the health decisions of expecting mothers. Those decisions are best discussed with and determined by someone with a medical degree.


    If we continue to allow laws such as this, we can expect to see legal actions taken against obese expecting mothers. Obesity and it's related issues are responsible for many more negative child births. Obesity is a choice, just as drug use is. But the risk, deaths and cost related to Obesity far succeed all illicit drug use combined. It's a slippery slope when the Government attempts to legislate populations health.


    We should not sit ideally by. The well being of expectant mothers and their newborns needs to be addressed. Criminal sanctions and incarceration is not how families are mended and prosper. The criminal justice system is a total failure within it's self. Nor has jurisprudence been effecting treating medical and often mental conditions. Doctors spend many years gaining their education in order to guide us with medical advice. So why would we allow legislators that did not take into consideration that most prominent medical associations were not in agreement with this law, A law that's very likely to cause more harm than help.
  5. Diverboone
    I'm in full agreement with your post, but we so often fall prey to a media tactic used to promote a biased agenda. "Police say Weld’s baby was born addicted to the drug and suffered withdrawals for six weeks." When read for reliable facts that can be cited, the statement is worthless and without merit. Since when did police become medical experts? Police have little more than 12 grade education if that. They are not qualified to make such a ludacris statement and frolic in their ignorance when they do.

    A baby can not be born addicted. Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. A newborn is not capable of such behavior.

    Methamphetamine does not cause physical dependence. It can cause a psychological dependence. Which leads to the question of which police officers are educated and trained to do psychological evaluations on newborns?

    Never the less the majority will believe the article as it's written.
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