First, they came for other people's children...

Regular readers know what I think and how I feel about the war on drugs. I think the Fourth Amendment has been systematically violated, and the violations go a lot further than mere illegal searches of drug suspects. They seek legal power to test saliva of all stopped motorists, and they already have power to invade the medical records of millions. Other than crank out these inadequate rants, I can't do much about any of this, as it's part and parcel of the war on drugs.

But fortunately (and I hate using that word in an awful case like this) when an innocent pregnant woman has her baby taken away because she ate a poppy seed bagel, that makes ordinary people ask questions:

The ACLU of Pennsylvania recently filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of a couple whose newborn baby was kidnapped by Lawrence County Children and Youth Services (LCCYS) because her mother recklessly consumed an "everything" bagel from Dunkin' Donuts the day before the birth. Jameson Hospital, where Isabella Rodriguez was born on April 27, has a policy of testing expectant mothers' urine for illegal drugs and reporting positive results to LCCYS, even without any additional evidence that the baby is in danger of neglect or abuse. LCCYS, in turn, has a policy of seizing such babies from their homes based on nothing more than the test result. Unfortunately for Isabella's parents, Elizabeth Mort and Alex Rodriguez, Jameson sets the cutoff level for its opiate test so low that it can be triggered by poppy seeds, which is why two caseworkers and two Neshannock Township police officers visited their home the day after baby and mother returned from the hospital. LCCYS seized the three-day-old girl and put her in foster care for five days before conceding it had made a mistake.
The situation is so bad I don't know where to begin. It makes me wonder whether this report by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron ("The Budgetary Implications of Drug Prohibition," December 2008) goes far enough in its economic analysis.

The drug war is being fought on TV now (as I write this post, the National Geographic Channel and the Discovery Health Channel are relentlessly sensationalizing the war on drugs), and the bureaucrats are all in on the act. The testing of new mothers for drugs did not happen in the abstract, and while I agree with Glenn that "all the officials involved should be tarred and feathered," I worry about the cost of the tar and the feathers. There is a huge network of officialdom involved. And I don't just mean the social workers and hospital personnel who carried out the acts, or the nameless apparatchik judge who signed the "court order to remove their three-day-old infant."

This is a direct and foreseeable consequence of the war on drugs and the acquiescence of society to treating people who use substances as criminals (or at least as subhuman creatures deserving of ruthless bureaucratic "intervention").

Still, I have to start somewhere other than the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, so I might as well start with CAPTA. That's the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 2003, which is what started the latest trend of testing new mothers for drugs without their consent, then forcibly kidnapping their children under color of law.

I can't believe that I wrote the last sentence about the United States of America, where I was born and grew up.

Despite being a libertarian blogger who opposes the drug war and tries to keep up with these issues, I found myself unprepared again when I read about the um, law:

Drug testing of newborn infants, based on a suspicion of maternal drug use, is common practice throughout the U.S., and often leads to reporting a family to child protective services for investigation (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001b). However, concern has been voiced that some women are tested for drug use largely due to their race and socioeconomic status, leading some researchers to argue for universal testing (Ondersma, Simpson, Brestan, & Ward, 2000; Barth, 2001).

Historically, substance abuse testing and reporting laws have been determined by individual states, resulting in wide variation. As of December 2003, only ten states (AZ, IL, IO, MA, MI, MN, ND, RI, UT, and VA) had laws on the books that specifically require testing and/or reporting women for perinatal substance use (Guttmacher Institute, 2003). However, a recent federal law (Public Law No: 108-36) attempts to create a uniform state response to perinatal substance abuse. The 2003 reauthorization of the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires states receiving CAPTA grants to develop a plan for medical workers to notify child protective services (CPS) of infants identified at birth as affected by prenatal drug exposure. The law states that this referral is not alone grounds for a child abuse and/or neglect determination and cannot be used for criminal prosecution. The law also requires that CPS develop a safe plan for infants in this situation (Public Law No: 108-36).

This is a recurrent pattern. Who in hell read CAPTA and knows what totalitarian crap they stuffed into that unreadable sausage? I only found out about the federal criminalization of wood in the "Farm Bill" because I stumbled onto it by accident, and we are only beginning to learn about what's in the Health Care Bill. Or I should say, whatever there is left of our freedom; if anything.

Out of late night curiosity (and please remember, no one pays me to do this), I tried in vain to find out what the law says. It is a much-amended mishmash which would probably require me to spend hours in a law library -- too high a price to complete a late night blog post. As it is, I can barely make sense of the Wiki summary:

Summary of Legislative History

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) was originally enacted in Public Law 93-247. The law was completely rewritten in the Child Abuse Prevention, Adoption and Family Services Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-294). It was further amended by the Child Abuse Prevention Challenge Grants Reauthorization Act of 1989 (P.L. 101-126 and the Drug Free School Amendments of 1989 (Public Law 101-226).

The Community-Based Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Grants program was originally authorized by sections 402 through 409 of the Continuing Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 1985 (Public Law 98-473). The Child Abuse Prevention Challenge Grants Reauthorization Act of 1989 (Public Law 101-126) transferred this program to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, as it was amended.

Huh?

Does anyone know what the hell is in this "law" other than the armed bureaucrats who enforce it?

I doubt it. But if the online summaries like this are any indication, there's plenty to cover the asses of whoever did whatever happened here:

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) requires States to have policies and procedures in place to notify child protective services (CPS) agencies of substance-exposed newborns (SENs) and to establish a plan of safe care for newborns identified as being affected by illegal substance abuse or withdrawal symptoms resulting from prenatal drug exposure.2 Several States currently address this requirement in their statutes. Approximately 16 States and the District of Columbia have specific reporting procedures for infants who show evidence at birth of having been exposed to drugs, alcohol, or other controlled substances; 12 States and the District of Columbia include this type of exposure in their definitions of child abuse or neglect.3
So, the Pennsylvania bureaucrats can and will say that they were only enforcing a federal mandate.

The whole thing makes me violently ill, and glad not to have had children.

After all, maybe they'll be so busy going after the people who have had children that I'll be safe...

UPDATE: Many thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link, and a warm welcome to all.

Comments welcome, agree or disagree.

While I'm at it, I thought I'd ask whether anyone knows whether our bureaucrat rulers have plans to test new moms (maybe by swabbing their mouths) for evidence of tobacco use, then snatching the kids away. And why not? After all, doesn't smoking endanger children too?

posted by Eric on 11.10.10 at 10:33 PM










Comments

The truth is really very simple, what the government is trying to do is reduce medical costs by urging women to give birth at home with the aid of a midwife. They give birth at home there will be no need to do any testing. No need for maternal care hospitals, and the government, can save a ton of money.

Alan Kellogg   ·  November 11, 2010 1:02 AM

So it's ok for a mother to kill a baby almost right up to the point of birth, but the moment the child is born the government 'protection' then kicks in and can take the child away based on a drug test....In this case, poppy seeds being the culprit.

Scott Lassiter   ·  November 11, 2010 6:09 AM

There is a simple solution. Outlaw poppy seed bagels and the culture that introduced them to America. Problem solved.

M. Simon   ·  November 11, 2010 6:33 AM

I was talking to a friend of mine about the scene in my town. The friend told me that some bars paid off the cops so that they could deal cocaine.

And people believe they are going to stop this sort of thing with laws? Not as long as there are enough crooked cops. And there are always enough crooked cops.

M. Simon   ·  November 11, 2010 7:08 AM

I noticed long ago that the government used our children as an excuse to tyrannize us. I elected not to have any.

Get the government off the people's ass.

Brett   ·  November 11, 2010 8:32 AM

This is why when any government worker comes to your home, you step outside and lock the door behind you.

gbm   ·  November 11, 2010 9:56 AM
M. Simon   ·  November 11, 2010 10:03 AM

You look at things like this and you wonder why we fought WWII and the Cold War. Indeed, you have to wonder whether we actually won both, given the totalitarian bent our Central State has taken.

Jeffersonian   ·  November 11, 2010 10:14 AM

No way would I have surrendered my 3-day old baby. To anyone. Someone who would have forcibly tried it would be staring at the business end of a large-caliber weapon. In this circumstance, I would not be afraid at all of being the subject of a huge amount of news coverage about an armed standoff. In fact, the more publicity in such a case, the better.

Gary Robinson   ·  November 11, 2010 10:38 AM

I cannot think of a better illustration of the old adage, "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

And I suppose that M. Simon (yes, I get the sarcasm, and am adding some of my own) would ship the members of the "culture that introduced them" off to special camps.

Find a copy of "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" by William L. Shirer and read at least the first 300 pages or so.

ExRat   ·  November 11, 2010 10:39 AM

I realize you are desperate to turn this whole tragedy into a rant that the Government has gone insane with its "war on drugs, man."

But the simple fact here is that the people who run that hospital are abject retards who told the state that this innocent woman was an opium user.

Personally, I'm quite glad that we will not allow a newborn baby to live with a mother who is on hard drugs.

Direct your wrath at the hospital, where it belongs.

Jim   ·  November 11, 2010 10:40 AM

Oh good grief - this isn't for the welfare of any baby - it is to give full employment, paid at a rate 30% higher than the private sector with guaranteed pension funds, no matter what happens to the economy, and paid dues to the public sector unions (that's people who work for a government for those of you who thought I was talking about volunteer work in another thread). We have so many hoards of bureaucrats working on WE THE PEOPLES' dime (debt), that it is getting harder and to give them all something to do but screaming "it's for the CHILDREN" is always good for a few 1000 more.

Dragon Lady   ·  November 11, 2010 10:41 AM

This bill was enacted with the best of intentions, and is actually quite sensible, as the horrible abuse of the children of junkie parents is well known. At the very least, the situation needs to be monitored. Those who see this as a nefarious government plot are going to fight this kind of abuse ineffectively.

The real problem is, as I think ClVa's point is, in the enforcement of the law. To stop this sort of nightmare, the bill has to be written more precisely, with more protection & direction.

The hospitals in these situations are in a terrible dilemma, both legally and morally, and will err on the side of, as they see it, safety, by rigid enforcement.

Joe Y   ·  November 11, 2010 10:55 AM

Your tax dollars at work....

Nahanni   ·  November 11, 2010 10:59 AM

And your solution for
(1) babies born with HIV
(2) babies born addicted to Crack is:


....

tick. tock. Still waiting.

Paul A'Barge   ·  November 11, 2010 10:59 AM

Great observations but the wrong approach. Stupid laws like this prey on the idea that only a few out of millions will be suspect and interred. Its a matter of enforcement capacity. Once the burden of enforcement becomes overwhelming the desire to enforce ceases.

Solution: Every pregnant woman upon reaching her third trimester should eat a poppy seed bagel with lox every other day till delivery as a patriotic duty.

Cheeky and stupid? Maybe. But when every blood test for a delivery comes back positive for 'drugs' the system will collapse. Attempts at enforcement will cease.

JohnMc   ·  November 11, 2010 11:12 AM

When a neighbor called Social Services to report that our son, aged 3, had wandered into her yard and onto her porch (to see her Christmas decorations),we began what became 8 weeks of 'visitation.' A social worker (spit!) came to our hone every Friday for 2 hrs and watched the children for any signs of abuse. After several months of deliberation, we were 'cited' for moving our family, with 4 young boys, into a subdivision with a lake. We were not charged with anything but we were verbally reprimanded that our son could have wandered back and into the private, unfenced pond of a resident blocks away. All that time could have been spent on an actual abused child that needed help but I guess it was just too tempting to resist a middle class family in a nice neighborhood. Foster parents? Us? Not with that on a SS computer...

middleagedhousewife   ·  November 11, 2010 11:35 AM

Have a friend who owns a bar here in So. Calif. - plainclothes cops appeared early in the day, wanted to know what he thought he was doing. He was not clear - what did they mean? They kept up with a series of vague comments - very open ended, so open ended he called a lawyer he knew - me. The whole incident reeked of a shakedown. Sadly I have come to the conclusion that far too many cops are young hot heads who like acting out with the knowledge the "authorities" they will be held accountable to are their friends. Imagine the seductive nature of having the power to completely F**k over someone - now imagine you perceive that someone as not being properly deferential to you...

Why does the state limit itself to drugs? Do not citizens owe each other (and really, what is the state if not "each other") a duty of productivity? "Citizen, I note that you spend an inordinate amount of time on family and hobby matters - why do you shirk your work?" It is all about the LOVE.

Californio   ·  November 11, 2010 11:50 AM

@JohnMC, if your child could have wandered from your yard into your neighbors yard (to see the X-mas lights) could he have not just as easily wandered into the neighborhood pond/pool?

If the answer is yes, are you not concerned about that?

Because if it were me, that would have been my first thought: "o.m.g. if my boy could get out of my yard, he could have drowned in the pond!!!".

Not: "oh, those nasty Child Protection Services people, they really inconvenienced me".

Just asking ...

Paul A'Barge   ·  November 11, 2010 12:09 PM

Sorry, @johnMC, I should have directed my questions to middleagedhousewife.

Paul A'Barge   ·  November 11, 2010 12:11 PM

I used to work in a toxicology lab, and after the initial chemical screen came up positive for opioids, we would test it again by another method, gas-liquid mass spectroscopy, which is very sensitive and specific. Any lab tech worth their salt should be able to recognize the spectrograph of poppy seeds, it was common for our lab's employment screens.

I'm so sorry to hear about this terrible experience. It was due to incompetence, clearly. What has happened to "presumed innocent until proven guilty"?

ElisaPardo   ·  November 11, 2010 12:16 PM

Paul A'Barge is an idiot. No one has said the first thought was "oh, those nasty Child Protection Services people, they really inconvenienced me". Unless A'Barge thinks those nasty Child Protection Services people were already waiting in the yard, it is exceptionally doubtful A'Barge has gotten the "first thought" correct.

Rick Caird   ·  November 11, 2010 1:03 PM

Reading the comments left on your post reinforce my understanding of why these laws are on the books and just how hard they are to repeal. The real problem that is being targeted is abused and neglected children. Apart from that real problem, assumptions are made: all illegal substances should be illegal because using them is always bad; people who use illegal substances abuse and neglect their children, always; all children who are being raised by users of illegal drugs are better off removed from that home and cared for by the state or by whatever party the state designates; doing good for those children threatened by the specter of being raised by drug users is worth the costs of losing Constitutional rights, of seeing people suffer through the results of 'false positives', and of creating another situation that allows/accommodates abuse of power.

The ideas that it is better to let 10 guilty go free rather than to imprison one innocent, or that rights are most importantly preserved for the unpopular situation, are unreservedly and ecstatically tossed aside 'for the children.' Often, even those who see the proverbial slippery slope are willing to begin the slide when faced with a child who is suffering. Sadly, the child they see trumps the hidden and visible costs to all the children that they don't see. Also, harm done to a child in the quest for good is more acceptable even than less harm done in the quest for pharmaceutical relief.

It's an uphill battle for change.

Christy   ·  November 11, 2010 1:04 PM

Californio- The neighbor was next door, 15 ft away. The pond was blocks away, out of his sphere of interest. Should we not have lived on an actual street - he could easily wander into it and be hit by a car. Or chomped by a cow from the farm behind us. Or fall down the front steps at church and break his neck.
A freind from work was warned to keep her door locked when she left her children watching tv to go outside and hang out her laundry. It seems the SW was worried that someone may go in and steal the children. She called the office and asked what she should do, just to be sure, you know. The SW there told her she should never lock her door b/c, if a fire broke out, her children would be trapped. Go figure.
Cali - your inner social worker is showing.

Anonymous   ·  November 11, 2010 1:33 PM

Who cares what the law says? The "war on drugs" is a violation of our civil liberties and we are justified in responding with violence. If someone comes to take my kids I will respond with violence.

David   ·  November 11, 2010 1:44 PM

I'm with MiddleAgedHousewife. Paul A'Barge, you are an idiot. If you have children (and God help them if you do), you need to immediately pull them out of school and smother them in bubble wrap, because you've discovered that the world is a dangerous place and every child who's ever been born has a 100% chance of dying. Kids get out despite our best efforts to keep them in. Kids get killed despite our best efforts to keep them safe. That we have to ignore real risks in order to protect them from risks that assholier-than-thou people think are important is a tragedy that I lay squarely at the feet of those like Paul A'Barge who are so willing to condemn parents as uncaring because they don't chain their kids to a video game console. Baby booties and ballpoint pens are being tested for microscopic amounts of lead so that idiots like Paul can feel all self-righteous about standing as Protectors Of Children.

The kids aren't listening at the moment, so I'm just going to say it. F@#$ You, Paul. You and the high horse you rode in on.

Wacky Hermit   ·  November 11, 2010 1:56 PM

Don't kid yourself, Eric -- the armed bureaucrats who enforce that law don't know what's in it either. But they have the guns and the badges, so it doesn't really matter what the law says.

Our ancestors really did tar and feather agents of the Crown. We should begin doing the same for the fascist thugs masquerading as our protectors.

mariner   ·  November 11, 2010 2:01 PM

"Because if it were me, that would have been my first thought: "o.m.g. if my boy could get out of my yard, he could have drowned in the pond!!!".

Californio,

He might drowned in his own bathtub or a bucket of water, but so far he hasn't (and that's more to do with the quality of his parents and less to do with the interference of Child Protective Services). This was a minor infraction that should've been handled amongst neighbers and not by any law enforcement agency. The neighbor should've escorted Jr. and talked to his parents about his "misdeeds" (if you could call them that, since no one was hurt and no property was damaged). Yes, they should've kept a better eye on him, but in this case the punishment does not fit the crime. If the above said neighbor was so panic stricken about the welfare of the neighborhood children and wanted to keep them off her private property, she should build a fence. Furthermore, she should never hang Christmas lights to attract children or other unwanted trespassers.

Nonhelicopter   ·  November 11, 2010 2:06 PM

Oh good grief - this isn't for the welfare of any baby - it is to give full employment, paid at a rate 30% higher than the private sector...

And they're harassing the lady who ate a bagel because that's less work (and probably smells better) than helping the children with junkie parents who don't feed them or change their diapers, and smack them around when they cry. "Social Services" are joke everywhere.

HeatherRadish   ·  November 11, 2010 2:56 PM

Don't all the above comments miss the question: What in the Constitution empowers the government to search people's urine without their permission or with out a search warrant issued for probable cause?

I understand that the lawyers will claim that urine is abandoned property and thus the hospital and government can do anything with it, but does anybody really think the Framers would have tolerated such behavior by their servants?

Anonymous   ·  November 11, 2010 3:13 PM

"But the simple fact here is that the people who run that hospital are abject retards who told the state that this innocent woman was an opium use."

Think about that for a moment. The system in place allows "abject redards" (I use quotes because they're obviously not really mentally disabled) to be employed at a hospital, in positions of great authority. It then allows them to make decisions which can destroy the lives of parents and children and any other patients unfortunate enough to catch their attention. No due-process, no accountability, no presumption of innocence, no evidence beyond a single test administered and interpreted by these very same "abject morons". And they have the full power of the state police, the courts, and state agencies at their disposal. While the parents are instant criminals. That's apparently what it takes to achieve the goal you seek.

Is this ok with you? Is signing de-facto control of all newborns over to the state, theirs to take with the flimsiest of justifications, really the best way to solve the problem of a relative handful of mothers who might potentially be abusing drugs? How many other people has this happened to already, and should they be told that it's worth it for the greater good?

Bryan C   ·  November 11, 2010 3:51 PM

I am a neonatologist, I run a newborn ICU, so many of these reports to our states depat of family services is made ostensibly on my behlf as the treating physician. Let me tell you the problem is a lot worse than it seems. So here goes:

1. The whole thing is of course premised on the flawed assumption that a mother who consumes drugs is automatically guilty of child abuse, and her children will be better off with foster parents who geta handout from the state to look after the child.

I dont know how you guys feel about this but nothing could be further from the truth. In my quarter century of practice, my observation is that the truth is almost the opposite. Look, the maternal instinct to look after your child is probabely the most straongly hard wired instinct thatwe as a specie could possibly have of course it is not restricted to the human animal.

Aberations exist, I have seen plenty of cases of abuse that was egregious and horrific. But tyhe attitiude the state takes nowadys is one of guilty unless presumed inoccent. This is of course enforced by brain dead medical social workeres, and the even more brain dead DCFS workers.

In the absence of gross abuse, my experince, intuition and observation suggest that even a fucked up mom is going to be a better child caretaker than a rentier foster parent who is doing this for money

2. There are essentially two approaches most hospitals across the country use. Both of which in my humble now lawyer opinion are violations of constitutional liberties.Effectively a warantless search and seizure.

a. Test everybody and repoert the postives to DCFS. The urine by the way is NOT a waste product. a clear plastic bag with an adhesive around its mouth that allows the bag to be attached to the groin is placed to effect urine collection . SDo no waste collecxtion issues.

b. babies are selectively tested. In theory not a problem. I will test some babies selectively if i think they are actually having symptoms that could be ascribed to drug withdrawl and I have a treatment modality that may make them more comfortable. Opiates- heroin morphine etc fit into this category. The problem is that complete ignorance is rife, and here MD's are as much to balme as others. The numebr of times i see coleagues talk about -for example coacain withdrawl-problem is THERE IS NO COCAIN WITHDRAWL syndrome in babies. nada, zilch , zero.

In actual practice- in most places that i am familliar with, this practice ends up being even more abusive of civil rights than universal testing. Because de facto the decisiopn to test is based on factors like the following ( in order of likelyhood of testing): Black race; puerto rican; other latino; poor white; Low SE status; Hostile patient etc etc..... get the picture.

3. my problem... which one would think would be echo'ed by many more in my profession but so far in my experience I am a lone and ( I am sorry but I do need to continue being gainfully employed) silent voice. I am a physician, duty bound to do whatever is necessary to HELP my patients. I am not an gaent of law enforcement. Nanny statist laws that force me to report postive urine drug tests to an agency of the state, with punitive power to take the child away from the biologic mother, is in my opinion a violation of my hyppocratic oath. Of course the state would say that not taking the baby away would put the baby in harms way. i beg to differ.

This whole thing is bullshit, that just keeps oa lot of low IQ morons employed at taxpayer expense.

VK   ·  November 11, 2010 3:57 PM

When I lived in San Diego c1984 a Navy captain was fighting for his career due to false positives caused by poppy seed bagels. It amazes me that twenty-five years after poppy seed false positives became part of case law that the drug warriors and their minions are still using the same flawed test. INAL Shouldn't it be actionable if you use a known flawed drug test to accuse someone of drug abuse due to a false positive? Did the hospital slander the mother?

djl4570   ·  November 11, 2010 3:57 PM

Rick Caird and Wacky Hermit (and of course middleagedhousewife, or is it anonymous or is it ... oh, so hard to keep up, isn't it?), I'd like to introduce you to someone. Her name is Elizabeth Smart. How timely that she is this week testifying in the trial of her abductor.

So, while you "don't inconvenience me in any way" Libertarians (Upper case "L" deliberate) insist on inflicting your potty mouths on all of the rest of us, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the case of Elizabeth Smart and then come back and tell me how innocent middleagedhousewife is.

Hint: not very.

Oh, and by the way? If you can't manage to figure out that your most important responsibility is to protect and nurture your children, please do us all a favor and have yourselves sterilized. Either that or earn a Darwin Award, thanks.

Paul A'Barge   ·  November 11, 2010 4:30 PM

Dragon Lady wrote: To stop this sort of nightmare, the bill has to be written more precisely, with more protection & direction.

Well see, there's your first problem.

The next time I see a carefully crafted law with proper protection for all, intelligent direction for state officials, and a clear sense of purpose and mission will be the first time.

This particular law was written by people with good intentions and little real-world knowledge -- I'm speaking about legislators though I suppose I could also be speaking of journalists. All they know about a problem is what they've been briefed on, and let's be charitable -- the briefings come from 1) harried staffers 2) lobbyists 3) people with an axe to grind.

Who else goes to the committee meetings in which the laws are writte and vetted? You were expecting experts?

Most legislators are lawyers. They write legalese. I'm not surprised Eric couldn't follow the language in the bill (nor could I). It might make sense to lawyers, but the poor schmoes who have to implement the law are stuck.

So you have a law that is premised on good intentions, crafted by people who don't know the issues and write in only one style, and enforced by people who can't understand what it is they're supposed to do and who are constrained by a couple hundred years history of bureaucratic inertia, office politics and CYA gamesmanship.

What could possibly go wrong?

Eric is angry that this family was subjected to this outrage. I'm grateful it's only one family.

Steve White   ·  November 11, 2010 4:43 PM

"Direct your wrath at the hospital, where it belongs."

While I agree with you that the dolts at the hospital bear some responsibility, they do this because they are compelled by government. I know this is only anecdotal, but I personally know several people who have horror stories in relation to some child welfare agency or another.

The slightest allegation by just about anyone(it doesn't take a lab test) will net you several weeks to many months of monitoring and meddling, at the very least, by some overworked stranger who has labeled you guilty until proven innocent.

J Milam   ·  November 11, 2010 4:52 PM

This sort of thing is precisely why we have a second amendment. It doesn't get much more personal than having some random government agency arbitrarily kidnap your children on some half-baked premise.

wtfo   ·  November 11, 2010 5:15 PM

What could possibly go wrong?

Here you go: "http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/a-childs-death-in-no-mans-land/"

hat tip: Instapundit

Remember: they are your children, not your burdens.

Paul A'Barge   ·  November 11, 2010 6:19 PM

hmmmm...
"So, the Pennsylvania bureaucrats can and will say that they were only enforcing a federal mandate."

But the Arizona bureaucrats can't enforce federal immigration statutes ?
I wonder if Obama will say the Pennsylvania parents of the newborn were just out for some ice cream when their child was taken...?

Stephen Dee   ·  November 11, 2010 6:44 PM

This was a minor infraction that should've been handled amongst neighbers and not by any law enforcement agency.

Certainly ... and it has a lot less to do with War on Drugs and much more to do with the dearth of religious principles.

Did I just hear some gasps?

I'm serious. As our culture has become more secularized along with a concurrent push to dismiss the religious (as defined as regular church/temple attending) as oppressive, knuckdragging, bitter clingers full of superstition and fear of modernity, law books have grown alarmingly with all manner of statutes designed to point out what is/is not proper behavior. Everything from what light bulbs you are allowed to use, to speech codes, to diet; behavior is no longer a matter of principles your parents/church/community impart to you but of a law that will fine and/or imprison you if you don't adhere.

This kind of "if its legal then it's ok, so shut up with your primative religion" schtick leading to this kind of farce has been so sadly predictable. The Law cannot discriminate, so just like the TSA has to grope the breasts of a 12 year old in order to be "fair", so all moms have to have their urine tested. The well-known crackwhore who shows up in the ER several times a year for a clean bed and a few free meals? When she shows up ready to deliver, one can't target HER for a urine test. That would be "profiling." No over-worked ER doc or nurse is going to risk their career by bucking the mid-level bureaucrat who is a PC true believer.

How do y'all think Maj Hasan got away with years of nutburgerness?

Harassing good parents over trivialities is much easier for "social workers" then risking their skins going after the disturbing and possibly dangerous folk that abuse and murder their children. When the Law sez all abuse it equal, it will come down hardest on the people most likely to be paralyzed by confusion and fear at being accused.

Darleen   ·  November 11, 2010 6:49 PM

The bigger the Government, the smaller the citizen.

Darleen   ·  November 11, 2010 6:51 PM

I do hope no one takes literally those posters who say they would meet Child Protective or Social Services with violence.

Violence or the threat of violence would be the absolutely fastest way to years of hell with no contact with your children, should you live through the conflict. Or put another way, you would seem to prefer being right but dead or imprisoned. And why put your children in harm's way?

We do not need miniature Ruby Ridges or miniature Branch Davidian infernos.

We need to demand clear, sane laws. And while we are struggling for those we stay peaceful as we possibly can.

There could be a time to fight for our liberty all over again, but when your children are in the crossfire and you're standing alone against armed government employees, it is not the right time.

Alicia   ·  November 11, 2010 7:19 PM

What on earth does Elizabeth Smart have to do with this case?

The culturally sensitive, politically correct detective?

JAL   ·  November 11, 2010 8:23 PM

This story is a logical consequence of treating drug enforcement like a war, but it is NOT a logical consequence of drug criminalization per se. This is an error you consistently make.

Point 1: It's quite possible to enforce drug laws without crossing over into zero-tolerance mania, no-knock raids, DNA and blood searches, and drug-only exceptions to the constitution.

Certainly, you won't "stop drug use" if police do not violate citizens' rights. But you aren't going to totally stop drug use anyway. Just like you won't stop murder, or rape, etc.

If police enforce drug laws like they do other laws, leaving only mere criminalization as your complaint, you can take 90% of your writing on the subject and toss it out the window.

So blaming mere criminalization makes far less sense than taking the "war" out of the WOD.

Point 2: Perhaps I'm being unfair in asking you to prove a negative, but how on earth can you be so positive that absent the WOD, the police abuses wouldn't simply adopt other justifications and behave the same way anyway?

Ryan Waxx   ·  November 11, 2010 9:04 PM

Perhaps I'm being unfair in asking you to prove a negative, but how on earth can you be so positive that absent the WOD, the police abuses wouldn't simply adopt other justifications and behave the same way anyway?

I'm not positive, but I don't see them snatching kids away for signs of moms using alcohol or tobacco.

Eric Scheie   ·  November 11, 2010 11:17 PM

i heard npr damages children, can we check to see if parents gave/

racist, anti j williams organization


joe   ·  November 11, 2010 11:28 PM

So it's ok for a mother to kill a baby almost right up to the point of birth, but the moment the child is born the government 'protection' then kicks in and can take the child away based on a drug test....In this case, poppy seeds being the culprit.

Scott, I agree that the state has no right to kill a baby, born or unborn. So what right has the state to take a baby from its mom?

Eric Scheie   ·  November 11, 2010 11:46 PM

snatching kids away for signs of moms using alcohol or tobacco.

A child born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is going to have CPS on the maternity floor prior to discharge.

Darleen   ·  November 11, 2010 11:46 PM

Darleen, the link you provided is very scary. It would seem to dictate intervention without a warrant not merely for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome but if there simply is evidence that a child was "exposed prenatally to alcohol." Which means what? That someone reported that the mom had a glass of wine?

Such a result, IMO, means totalitarianism.

I think that if such things are the state's business, then pure logic dictates at minimum there is no right to abortion.

Little wonder so many social conservatives are reluctant to get rid of such arbitrary rules.

Eric Scheie   ·  November 12, 2010 12:10 AM

Little wonder so many social conservatives are reluctant to get rid of such arbitrary rules

Oh please, Eric, I hope that was snark, because the CPS is not loved anymore among so-cons then among so-libs.

Again, what you have is the inevitable mission creep of a reasonable idea unrestrained by any principle and operating in a Left-liberal realm that everyone has to be treated exactly alike or it is "profiling". Thus every child's parent is a potential abuser, just like (according to campus Left-feminists) every male is a potential rapist.

A live child has rights under the Constitution just as any adult: Life being #1. If an adult was poisoned, beaten, starved, neglected against his/her will, the government has a duty to secure the individual's right to Life regardless of age.

What happens to some children at the hands of people who have the responsibility of caring for those children might be incomprehensible to most people. I'm no longer surprised at the savagery inflicted on children even as it always makes me sick.

Darleen   ·  November 12, 2010 1:29 AM

djl4570- You're right. Elizabeth Smart should have opened everyone's eyes. Why didn't her parents have bars on her bedroom windows? Why didn't they hire guards the day she was born? How was it that they were allowed to live in a populated city? You never know what might happen; shouldn't they have taken her straight to a cave in the Rockies somewhere shortly after birth? Better yet, they could have had a home/cave birth and no one would have known she existed - ergo, no abduction!
But hey, that's not practical. There's not many ways to support one's family whilst living in a cave in the Rockies. Hmmm.... I know, what if the Government dropped by and picked up our newborns and kept them safe for us til they were grown? Wouldn't that be great!
No.

Anonymous   ·  November 12, 2010 8:02 AM

djl4570- You're right. Elizabeth Smart should have opened everyone's eyes. Why didn't her parents have bars on her bedroom windows? Why didn't they hire guards the day she was born? How was it that they were allowed to live in a populated city? You never know what might happen; shouldn't they have taken her straight to a cave in the Rockies somewhere shortly after birth? Better yet, they could have had a home/cave birth and no one would have known she existed - ergo, no abduction!
But hey, that's not practical. There's not many ways to support one's family whilst living in a cave in the Rockies. Hmmm.... I know, what if the Government dropped by and picked up our newborns and kept them safe for us til they were grown? Wouldn't that be great!
No.

middleagedhousewife   ·  November 12, 2010 8:03 AM

djl4570- You're right. Elizabeth Smart should have opened everyone's eyes. Why didn't her parents have bars on her bedroom windows? Why didn't they hire guards the day she was born? How was it that they were allowed to live in a populated city? You never know what might happen; shouldn't they have taken her straight to a cave in the Rockies somewhere shortly after birth? Better yet, they could have had a home/cave birth and no one would have known she existed - ergo, no abduction!
But hey, that's not practical. There's not many ways to support one's family whilst living in a cave in the Rockies. Hmmm.... I know, what if the Government dropped by and picked up our newborns and kept them safe for us til they were grown? Wouldn't that be great!
No.

middleagedhousewife   ·  November 12, 2010 8:11 AM

Darleen it was snark but it was not directed at you.

Eric Scheie   ·  November 12, 2010 10:29 AM

"Darleen it was snark but it was not directed at you." was NOT posted by middleagedhousewife. I post twice, possibly due to lack of caffeine, but I did not write that last post.

middleagedhousewife   ·  November 12, 2010 11:21 AM

"Scott, I agree that the state has no right to kill a baby, born or unborn."


But do you agree that nobody has the right to kill that baby? If you think that the mother DOES have the right to "get rid" of the baby, then you're the one making up arbitrary rules simply on the basis that you like them.

SM   ·  November 12, 2010 2:18 PM

Wow! Social Services is easily abbreviated as "SS" in so many ways.

steep   ·  November 12, 2010 2:41 PM

Eric Scheie: I'm not positive, but I don't see them snatching kids away for signs of moms using alcohol or tobacco.
-------------------------------------------

My claim was that government would just find other reasons to do the things they do. In that context, you picked abysmally poor ground to fight on, since CPS already does find non-drug-related grounds to abusively remove children from their parents.

Do you seriously want to dispute that?

Ryan Waxx   ·  November 13, 2010 5:49 PM

There are two culprits here: the hospital and CPS. I defend neither, and while I realize CPS removes kids from their parents for many reasons, they only did so here because information was given to them by the hospital, which (IMO) invaded the woman's privacy by testing her for drugs without her consent. They should not be allowed to do that without a court order for that, based on probable cause.

Eric Scheie   ·  November 13, 2010 6:03 PM

Post a comment


April 2011
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

ANCIENT (AND MODERN)
WORLD-WIDE CALENDAR


Search the Site


E-mail



Classics To Go

Classical Values PDA Link



Archives



Recent Entries



Links



Site Credits