Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Should Pregnant Women Be Forced to Be Tested for Drugs?; Attorney General Zoeller's Statements Prompt On-Line Debate

On Facebook this morning, a "friend" of mine linked to a story that indicated Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller was pushing for mandatory drug testing of pregnant women.  The source, reported:
Indiana attorney general Greg Zoeller has called upon his state's legislature to enact mandatory drug testing for pregnant women citing rising health care costs. Zoeller claims drug testing will allow for early treatment of babies exposed to drugs ingested by their mothers while they are in the womb. The exposure can lead to an existing addiction to drugs known as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), which can cause withdrawal symptoms shortly after birth. According to Zoeller (pictured below), the symptoms associated with NAS cost Indiana hospitals around $30 million in 2011.

Senator Pat Miller (R-Indianapolis) says the state legislature is exploring other options that do not include mandatory testing.
Zoeller's proposal has met strong opposition online.
The original Facebook post said that this shouldn't be unexpected given that Zoeller is the "same guy who prosecuted a woman for murder because she attempted suicide while pregnant."

Attorney General Greg Zoeller
That information is wrong.  The prosecution of the woman, Bei Bei Shuai, was done by Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, a Democrat.  I criticized that prosecution on this blog.  As the state's Attorney General, Zoeller does not even have the authority to conduct a prosecution.  In Indiana, that authority belongs solely to county prosecutors.

However, whether Attorney General Zoeller is, or rather was, calling for mandatory testing is a much closer question.  Zoeller's official spokesman adamantly denies Zoeller was pushing for mandatory testing.  However, when presented with a question about his alleged support of "mandatory testing" during an earlier interview, Zoeller does not correct the interviewer and seems to suggest as long as the information obtained wasn't used to prosecute the woman the mandatory testing would be legal.  The "progressive feminist blog" Shakesville does an excellent job of comparing the response from the Attorney General's Office to what Zoeller earlier during the interview to note the possible discrepancy in Zoeller's position on mandatory drug testing.

The left has jumped on the Zoeller's (assumed) support of mandatory drug testing of pregnant women as more "War on Women" tripe. Supposedly this is proof that the "far right" is out to criminalize being a woman, or at least being a pregnant woman.  What utter nonsense.

It is true that in the last few days the left, utilizing the Internet, has led the opposition to mandatory drug testing of pregnant women.   But the notion that people on the right would support mandatory drug testing of pregnant women is to miss the strongly libertarian values of tea party folks and others who occupy the right wing of the political spectrum.  Those folks who proudly fly the "Don't Tread on Me" flags are not about to embrace government forcing women (many of whom are their wives, daughters and sisters) to pee into cups simply because they are pregnant.  That is never going to happen.

If mandatory drug testing of pregnant women is proposed, those on the left better move over because they are going to have a ot of support from people on the right in opposing this wrong-headed idea.


Indy Rob said...

I would prefer that no one takes drugs, but I find the notion of compulsory testing and reporting to be almost unbelievably arrogant and intrusive.

Instead, I am in flavor of full medical and financial reporting for every state representative, attorney general and anyone else supporting this lame brained idea.

questionate said...

Indiana Attorney General supported denial of bail and prosecuting the charges. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed an appellee brief in the interlocutory appeal of the trial court’s ruling denying bail you can find it here

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed an appellee brief in the interlocutory appeal of the trial court’s ruling denying dismissal of the charges – you can find it here