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Do you agree with state laws that allow hospitals to drug test new moms?

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- The American Civil Liberties Union is representing a western Pennsylvania woman who says her newborn baby was seized by county welfare workers after she failed a drug test because she ate a poppy seed bagel.

ACLU attorney Sara Rose said Lawrence County Children and Youth Services officials came to Elizabeth Mort's home three days after she gave birth at Jameson Hospital in New Castle last month. A state law allows hospitals to give blood tests to protect newborns from mothers who may be abusing drugs.

Rose says the hospital and welfare workers rushed to judgment without thoroughly investigating. Heroin is made from poppies and eating the seeds has been known to cause false positive drug results.

The hospital says it is comparing its procedures to other hospitals. The baby has since been returned.


Asked by sweet-a-kins at 12:42 PM on Oct. 18, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (52)
  • I'm in PA, this was actually very local to me. However, our hospital doesn't follow this practice.

    Here though, is my thing... I don't think I should have to pay for a drug test, knowing I'm clean. That said, there are LOTS of things (and in this case a simple bagel) which can show as a positive drug screen... Even when there is no abuse. For example my DR has me on a narcotic for pain, I'm not taking it they way they want me to, but it could easily come up as a failed test. Other things, which are perfectly natural and legal can also show as a fail. While things more serious, such as long term alcohol abuse, are not only not going to show, but are perfectly legal...

    I think blanket testing in ANY setting is generally wrong. IF there is cause to think there is an issue, test away, but without cause I just see it as a personal violation thing...

    Answer by SabrinaMBowen at 1:15 PM on Oct. 18, 2010

  • Once again, what gives a private industry the right to invade privacy without reasonable suspicion and a court order? If she came in acting all stoned, or with visible recent tract (sp??) marks, then the hospital should call the police, and let the police get a court order for a drug test.

    I seriously don't like this.

    Answer by lovinangels at 12:55 PM on Oct. 18, 2010

  • In my state all newborns are drug tested. Baby comes back pos. the mother is tested as well. It is to protect the baby.

    Answer by But_Mommie at 12:46 PM on Oct. 18, 2010

  • All of our liberties will eventually be eroded if we allow them to be diminished in the name of safety.

    Answer by lovinangels at 1:04 PM on Oct. 18, 2010

  • Yes, I do it is a great way to screen druggie moms but of course it is not fallible.


    Answer by older at 12:44 PM on Oct. 18, 2010

  • Precoset (oxycodone) is also made from narcotics. How the heck can they possibly be screening for drugs when the hospital is passing them out like candy because guess what child birth hurts!!! Have you ever tried to have a natural childbirth and had the nurses pushing epidurals and what-not on you. C-section rate of 30+% and they are worried about drugs!!! Give me a freaken break. If they have reason to suspect illegal drug use they should start an investigation not take a baby as if it is all said and done! Idiots! Ever heard of due process?

    Answer by LoveMyDog at 12:58 PM on Oct. 18, 2010

  • In theory I think the idea is ok, but I just don't think it's right , why stop at the new moms, maybe we should be drug testing the doctors who are treating us...

    Answer by skittles1108 at 12:44 PM on Oct. 18, 2010

  • I think it is a good idea when it's OBVIOUS. There was a mom who gave birth the day after me who was clearly on something. I heard my doc on the phone to cps. She said that the woman and her baby tested positive and that the woman had tested positive at the majority of her prenatals.

    Answer by Shanna84 at 12:51 PM on Oct. 18, 2010

  • No. I don't like it. It sounds all "let's protect the babies" which makes it hard to say no to (although, r ally it doesn't sound like it would do much). But really it's an invasion of privacy, and too "Big Brother" for me.

    Answer by SuperChicken at 1:00 PM on Oct. 18, 2010

  • I wish they did that everywhere. From PERSONAL EXPERIENCE my sister abuses drugs and no matter how hard I tried to alert athorities no-one cared. She STILL after I reported her to DFCS gets food stamps after she was buying food for people in exchange for drugs (meth and more). She was taken to the hospital where they found marijuana, meth and muscle relaxers in her system while she was BREASTFEEDING her newborn and while she is on probation for drug use and NOTHING was done. :( I called her probation officer, the cops when she was arreste done night, her father (we have diff dads), etc... no-one cared to do anything about it. :( she wasn't caring fo rher children as she should due to the drugs and wouldn't let me take them. If only my state cared enough about children to do this her children wouldn't have been neglected as they were.
    Thankfully our mom talked her into rehab. I only hope it works and that my state changes.

    Answer by Memigen at 12:52 PM on Oct. 18, 2010