Mandatory Drug Testing for Moms of Preemies and Babies with Birth Defects?


madatory drug testing of women miscarriage preemie birth defects

Should women who miscarry

be tested for drugs?

KnoxvilleDoula wrote a journal post that really caught my attention. It's about a bill on the table in Tennessee that would require women who miscarry, have premature babies, or have babies with birth defects to undergo mandatory drug testing.


According to State Representative Jim Hackworth, the bill's sponsor, "The original intent of this bill has always been directed toward helping those children who are born addicted receive adequate healthcare." However, that isn't written in the bill. What is currently written there? A list of reasons pregnant women might be tested for alcohol and drugs, including incomplete prenatal care, preterm labor of no obvious cause, and previously known alcohol or drug abuse.

The representative says one of his constituents e-mailed him the idea for the bill. She works at a hospital, and witnessed the effects on a baby born to a drug addicted mother. "It would have seizures just going through withdrawals and the nurses would talk about how the baby would just cry all night and they couldn't really console the baby," says Amanda Hutton.

I had a miscarriage and it was traumatic enough without somebody telling me I had to be tested for drugs. Similarly, I can't imagine women dealing with all the stress, worry, and exhaustion of having a preemie or a baby with birth defects having to undergo drug testing. I understand the need to protect and care for babies born addicted to drugs, but there has to be a better way.

What do you think? Would you support a law in your state that required drug testing of women who had a miscarriage or a preemie or a baby born with a birth defect?

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