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Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse? 
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Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
My snap instinct is to say, "Yes, it's child abuse, and she ought to hang from the highest tree."

Of course, instincts evaluate only the most basic of information. Instincts do not care about details or complex considerations. Instincts are frequently dead wrong.

Criminalizing smoking and drinking while pregnant raises a lot of questions. The major ones, in my eyes, are "How many behaviors can a pregnant woman participate in that might cause complications to the pregnancy?" and "Should we criminalize them all?"

The very act of having a child post-30 raises the possibility of complications by itself. Additionally, the birthing process for girls aged 14 or younger is significantly more dangerous for both the fetus and the mother. Shall the right to pregnancy be strictly limited women between the ages of 15 and 30? And what about the recent findings to suggest that men post-30 are also complicit in the possibility of defects with their increasingly low-grade sperm?

Then there's the question of when the woman ought to start being obligated to treat the offspring as an unborn child and take care of herself accordingly. It's a thorny issue, but one that must be addressed for the sake of this argument. The decision to keep it seems to be a logical demarcation, but how could that ever be legally binding? When we rule that out, Pete's question then arises: when does a pregnant woman stop being one person and start being two? It's the same dilemma that often stymies debates over the morality of... you know.

Question: When does organic matter become eligible for participation in the social contract of rights and responsibility? Answer: When the organic matter is human. Then, what is human?

This probably isn't going to earn me a whole lot of popularity, but for at least the first two months of pregnancy, any obligation that the pregnant woman undertakes is strictly voluntary. What she is carrying is an embryo--a clump of expanding tissue that is without thought, feeling, self-awareness, a capacity for learning and wonder, or even the simple capability of sustaining its own life without attachment to its host. Those things, to me, are essential characteristics of humanity. Yes, an embryo has human DNA, which makes an embryo a human being as much as an acorn is an oak tree. There's more to a human being than a pair of intertwined polymers. There is a big difference between an expanding clump of elementary tissue and the people participating in this conversation.

The philosophical grey areas with regard to pregnancy, in my eyes, do not even begin to apply until at least the fetal stage.

Soup to nuts, some women are more attentive to prenatal care than others. If a pregnant woman drinks and smokes, it is probably indicative of a by-and-large carelessness with regard to her future child. It truly sucks, but we tend not to punish people for a general failure to give a crap about stuff.


Fri May 13, 2011 12:33 pm
Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
The education would have to take place in two key locations: schools and the doctor's office. High school health classes, college awareness programs, maybe even a national awareness day. It's pivotal for the doctor to explain the dangers to the woman; hearing Patrick's story about a doctor is quite unsettling. Having a free nicotine patch program sounds like a good idea to me.

This issue expands into larger ones, though. If smoking while pregnant is child abuse, then is feeding an infant McDonald's child abuse? Is letting a kid sit in front of a television for 8 hours a day, absorbing all the lovely radiation he/she can get, child abuse? These activities are potential health hazards to the child. Is it child abuse? Where do we draw the line?


Fri May 13, 2011 3:46 pm
Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
Well, the difference between McDonalds and radiation from the TV/cell phones/whatever is that only one of them has been conclusively proven, with substantive evidence, to cause quantifiable harm to your health.

Whenever there's a story on the news about parents locking their kids up in the basement and feeding them crusts of bread, people will complain that the government doesn't do enough. But what's the alternative? Government intrusion into every home? Draconian punishments for child neglect? It is understandable that people are uncomfortable with the idea that idiots are allowed to rear their own children however they want, but life is often a choice between unpleasant alternatives.


Fri May 13, 2011 4:27 pm
Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
johnny larue wrote:
Robert Holloway wrote:
People here seem to smoke more than in California
It's stupidity


Rob...what is the current state of public smoking laws in the UK? I know California has been smoke free in restaurants and bars for many years. Our state put in a ban last year. Does UK have similar laws about smoking in public places? Could be you just notice it less in CA due to this. I believe that the smoking rates are going down in developed nations and are rising in developing nations. I sold my stock in Phillip Morris when I'd heard that Irish pubs and French cafe's were going smoke free. If you can't smoke in those 2 places, then the writing's on the wall (IMO).



Monsieur Johnny LaRue
I think more people smoke here, dramatically more.
I really notice it every day, but have no hard data
Rob


Fri May 13, 2011 4:37 pm
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Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
Ken wrote:
My snap instinct is to say, "Yes, it's child abuse, and she ought to hang from the highest tree."

Of course, instincts evaluate only the most basic of information. Instincts do not care about details or complex considerations. Instincts are frequently dead wrong.

Criminalizing smoking and drinking while pregnant raises a lot of questions. The major ones, in my eyes, are "How many behaviors can a pregnant woman participate in that might cause complications to the pregnancy?" and "Should we criminalize them all?"

The very act of having a child post-30 raises the possibility of complications by itself. Additionally, the birthing process for girls aged 14 or younger is significantly more dangerous for both the fetus and the mother. Shall the right to pregnancy be strictly limited women between the ages of 15 and 30? And what about the recent findings to suggest that men post-30 are also complicit in the possibility of defects with their increasingly low-grade sperm?

Then there's the question of when the woman ought to start being obligated to treat the offspring as an unborn child and take care of herself accordingly. It's a thorny issue, but one that must be addressed for the sake of this argument. The decision to keep it seems to be a logical demarcation, but how could that ever be legally binding? When we rule that out, Pete's question then arises: when does a pregnant woman stop being one person and start being two? It's the same dilemma that often stymies debates over the morality of... you know.

Question: When does organic matter become eligible for participation in the social contract of rights and responsibility? Answer: When the organic matter is human. Then, what is human?

This probably isn't going to earn me a whole lot of popularity, but for at least the first two months of pregnancy, any obligation that the pregnant woman undertakes is strictly voluntary. What she is carrying is an embryo--a clump of expanding tissue that is without thought, feeling, self-awareness, a capacity for learning and wonder, or even the simple capability of sustaining its own life without attachment to its host. Those things, to me, are essential characteristics of humanity. Yes, an embryo has human DNA, which makes an embryo a human being as much as an acorn is an oak tree. There's more to a human being than a pair of intertwined polymers. There is a big difference between an expanding clump of elementary tissue and the people participating in this conversation.

The philosophical grey areas with regard to pregnancy, in my eyes, do not even begin to apply until at least the fetal stage.

Soup to nuts, some women are more attentive to prenatal care than others. If a pregnant woman drinks and smokes, it is probably indicative of a by-and-large carelessness with regard to her future child. It truly sucks, but we tend not to punish people for a general failure to give a crap about stuff.


The enforceability argument is definitely a valid one--it'd cost far more in the loss of liberty and privacy, along with money, to enforce the ban than the ban would be worth in terms of the protection of children's health and safety. However, you could fairly easily enforce it in the public square: say that if you are pregnant and caught smoking or drinking in public, then you will be fined or jailed.

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Fri May 13, 2011 6:41 pm
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Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
firefly wrote:
However, you could fairly easily enforce it in the public square: say that if you are pregnant and caught smoking or drinking in public, then you will be fined or jailed.


And you honestly believe this would do something to curb the rate of women smoking/drinking whilst pregnant? That just means they'll stay home to light up and drink... Criminalization is not the answer, in any way, shape, or form.

And watching TV might not be proven to be damaging to a child's physical health, but it is arguably a great detriment to the child's mind development.

Ken wrote:
It is understandable that people are uncomfortable with the idea that idiots are allowed to rear their own children however they want, but life is often a choice between unpleasant alternatives.


It's very true that life is often a choice between unpleasant alternatives, but I think people should be less concerned with what the idiots are doing and more concerned with making sure there are less idiots in the world.


Fri May 13, 2011 7:20 pm
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Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
Timmy Shoes wrote:
And you honestly believe this would do something to curb the rate of women smoking/drinking whilst pregnant? That just means they'll stay home to light up and drink... Criminalization is not the answer, in any way, shape, or form.


I really do not think that anyone would stay home if they were unable to smoke or drink in public. At most they would curtail purely optional public excursions. They would maintain all others, because the costs of not shopping for food, going to doctor appointments, etc. far outweigh having to do so without smoking. I think even the most addicted smoker would acknowledge this.

Quote:
And watching TV might not be proven to be damaging to a child's physical health, but it is arguably a great detriment to the child's mind development.


The first part of your statement means that it's really not even worth bringing up. We are not talking about optimizing childhood development, but rather trying to prevent very preventable severe lifelong complications.

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Fri May 13, 2011 7:29 pm
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Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
firefly wrote:
I really do not think that anyone would stay home if they were unable to smoke or drink in public. At most they would curtail purely optional public excursions. They would maintain all others, because the costs of not shopping for food, going to doctor appointments, etc. far outweigh having to do so without smoking. I think even the most addicted smoker would acknowledge this.


You fuckin serious, bro? Lmao...I didn't say they would stay home permanently, I'd say they would stay home (indoors and out of sight of those pesky police) to smoke their cigarettes and drink their beer. Seriously, where the fuck does staying home permanently even begin to make the slightest of sense? Try reading my post next time. Point is, your little fascist policy wouldn't do anything in the slightest to prevent pregnant woman from smoking or drinking. It'd just shove it under the rug. I guess out of sight, out of mind is your mantra?

firefly wrote:
The first part of your statement means that it's really not even worth bringing up. We are not talking about optimizing childhood development, but rather trying to prevent very preventable severe lifelong complications.


And I suppose feeding McDonalds to infants (my first point) has no relevance? Talk about selective hearing (or reading, in this case).


Fri May 13, 2011 8:16 pm
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Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
Timmy Shoes wrote:
You fuckin serious, bro? Lmao...I didn't say they would stay home permanently, I'd say they would stay home (indoors and out of sight of those pesky police) to smoke their cigarettes and drink their beer.


This is what you said:
Quote:
That just means they'll stay home to light up and drink


It is ambiguous, so I figured that you weren't making a statement as banal as observing that they will still smoke and drink when they are at home, but rather that it would curve their traveling habits. I did not say it would eliminate drinking and smoking. I said that it would diminish it, and it would.

By the way, one way that this could also be implemented is if medical facilities tested samples for alcohol or cigarettes. It would be entirely justifiable to make receiving state assistance dependent upon not drinking or smoking, and this would target the people most likely to drink or smoke while pregnant: lower income, less educated people.


Quote:
And I suppose feeding McDonalds to infants (my first point) has no relevance?


No, it does not. When McDonalds Infant Syndrome gains medical recognition, you can come back and make the argument.

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Fri May 13, 2011 8:26 pm
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Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
firefly wrote:
It is ambiguous, so I figured that you weren't making a statement as banal as observing that they will still smoke and drink when they are at home, but rather that it would curve their traveling habits.


"To" : In this context, it used used to identify the relationship between two things; staying at home, and smoking/drinking.

Hardly ambitious.

firefly wrote:
I did not say it would eliminate drinking and smoking. I said that it would diminish it, and it would.


No, it would not. You're quite mistaken. Has cannabis prohibition done anything to sway the rate of people smoking it? Ya, I thought so.

Quote:
And I suppose feeding McDonalds to infants (my first point) has no relevance?


firefly wrote:
No, it does not. When McDonalds Infant Syndrome gains medical recognition, you can come back and make the argument.


Last time I checked, eating McDonald's causes long-term (and what do you know, PREVENTABLE) health problems. Not relevant huh?


Fri May 13, 2011 8:36 pm
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Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
Timmy Shoes wrote:

"To" : In this context, it used used to identify the relationship between two things; staying at home, and smoking/drinking.

Hardly ambitious.


"What are you doing today?"
"I'm staying home to work on my lawn"
"Oh so you're not going out anywhere."
"Nope."

Quote:
No, it would not. You're quite mistaken. Has cannabis prohibition done anything to sway the rate of people smoking it? Ya, I thought so.


Threaten to cut off the government support and see how fast a lot of people fall in line.

Quote:
Last time I checked, eating McDonald's causes long-term (and what do you know, PREVENTABLE) health problems. Not relevant huh?


Eating McDonalds may increase your chances of clogged arteries, high blood pressure, etc.
Drinking while pregnant can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome. If you are unable to differentiate these two then you probably need to read up more on FAS.

I'll make it easy: developmental disorders aren't in the same category as non-ideal measures of cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. The latter is easily corrected in most instances, the former is not.

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Fri May 13, 2011 8:47 pm
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Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
firefly wrote:
Eating McDonalds may increase your chances of clogged arteries, high blood pressure, etc.
Drinking while pregnant can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome. If you are unable to differentiate these two then you probably need to read up more on FAS.

I'll make it easy: developmental disorders aren't in the same category as non-ideal measures of cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. The latter is easily corrected in most instances, the former is not.


Don't be a nit-picky tool. I wasn't saying they're the same in terms of the consequences to health. They are similar, however, in the fact that parents would be effectively doing damage to their children's health. So why don't we go around arresting parents who feed their kids Mc Donalds?

Moreover, threatening to cut off government support is not the same as arresting women who smoke/drink whilst pregnant in public.


Last edited by Timmy Shoes on Fri May 13, 2011 8:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Fri May 13, 2011 8:54 pm
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Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
Timmy Shoes wrote:
So why don't we go around arresting parents who feed their kids Mc Donalds?


Because eating at McDonalds does not cause long-term, mostly uncorrectable developmental and physiological maladies.

Quote:
Moreover, threatening to cut off government support is not the same as arresting women who smoke/drink whilst pregnant in public.


Well we could arrest them too but I figure that the threat of the loss of government funds ought to be enough to get most of them in line.

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Fri May 13, 2011 8:58 pm
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Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
firefly wrote:
Quote:
Moreover, threatening to cut off government support is not the same as arresting women who smoke/drink whilst pregnant in public.


Well we could arrest them too but I figure that the threat of the loss of government funds ought to be enough to get most of them in line.


Gotta love your line of thinking...

"Stop smoking while pregnant, or we'll make it so that you can't afford to buy food for your child!"

Brilliant.


Fri May 13, 2011 9:00 pm
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Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
Timmy Shoes wrote:
firefly wrote:
Quote:
Moreover, threatening to cut off government support is not the same as arresting women who smoke/drink whilst pregnant in public.


Well we could arrest them too but I figure that the threat of the loss of government funds ought to be enough to get most of them in line.


Gotta love your line of thinking...

"Stop smoking while pregnant, or we'll make it so that you can't afford to buy food for your child!"

Brilliant.


Government benefits go to far more than just the child. The change in behavior would come due to the recognition of the loss of benefits for the person, not the child.

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Fri May 13, 2011 9:02 pm
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Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
And you honestly believe that will be a more effective preventative measure than say, improving education and awareness? :?


Fri May 13, 2011 9:07 pm
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Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
Timmy Shoes wrote:
And you honestly believe that will be a more effective preventative measure than say, improving education and awareness? :?


Those are abstractions, I am proposing something concrete.

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Fri May 13, 2011 9:10 pm
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Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
firefly wrote:
Those are abstractions, I am proposing something concrete.


Concrete my ass.

You want to bully people into making the right decision, instead of teaching them about making wiser decisions. Your curing the headache by cutting off the head.


Last edited by Timmy Shoes on Fri May 13, 2011 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri May 13, 2011 9:13 pm
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Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
Timmy Shoes wrote:
firefly wrote:
Those are abstractions, I am proposing something concrete.


Concrete my ass.

Check mate.

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Fri May 13, 2011 9:14 pm
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Post Re: Is Smoking or Drinking While Pregnant Child Abuse?
firefly wrote:
Timmy Shoes wrote:
firefly wrote:
Those are abstractions, I am proposing something concrete.


Concrete my ass.

Check mate.


Why don't we let someone more objective decide.


Fri May 13, 2011 9:15 pm
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