Lawyer for the Fetus

Alcia BeltranAs mothers and daughters we constantly carry our good maternal instincts. We hope that our mothers treated us just as well as we want to treat our own children. In Wisconsin, 28 year old Alicia Beltran thought she was putting her baby’s best interest forth when she told her doctor that prior to pregnancy she had a pill addiction. She took it upon herself to end this vicious hazard, but somehow still punished once her addiction faded and drug free.

Through media we constantly see and hear about these horror stories about pregnancies. Pregnancy should be an enjoyable and memorable experience. Situations such as the one Beltran faced will move women from doing the right thing to becoming scared and dishonest. We should be educating others that fetal alcohol syndrome is a proven but unpredictable threat, the impact of illegal drug use on newborns is generally less serious and more treatable than is popularly believed.

From this story, I am shocked that Beltran warned her doctors and demonstrated that she wanted what was best for her newborn but ended up being questioned, arrested and taken to trial. The to-be-mother was not trying to hide anything. Her urine backed up her statement about taking Suboxone to delete this pill addiction. Did the child’s life really depend on this?

This story creates awareness for me as a mother and as a daughter. Drugs are harmful, but to a certain extent. The treatment towards the mother was unfair. She “chose” to do what she thought was the right thing and give her doctors a disclaimer about her prior drug actions. In return, the doctors abused the trust. Why did the unborn fetus have a lawyer but the mother did not receive anything. This treatment makes me second-guess what information I should disclose with my doctors. As patients, our expectations are to have someone who appears “professional” to talk to, get advice from, and trust. As a mother I fear my freedom of choice in how I want to give birth as well as who is acceptable to lean on and trust during those nine months. One comment that Beltran ends on is her fear that once the baby is born that they can come back and take her daughter. If Alicia was my mother, I would hate to be born and later find out that my mother was abused unjustly by the court system. It is crazy to me that all of this could happen by one string of a situation and there was no intentional harm towards the daughter, if anything it was the opposite.

For more information visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/24/us/case-explores-rights-of-fetus-versus-mother.html?pagewanted=all

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5 thoughts on “Lawyer for the Fetus

  1. I absolutely agree with this! After hearing stories about women who have had confidential information shared with their doctor released and reported, it makes me second guess what I can and cannot say. I do understand the need for the child to be protected from mothers who are acting harmfully towards their unborn children, however, this mother was very clearly trying to do the right thing. She wanted to get better, yet she was exposed and in my opinion, treated unfairly. She did not want to continue the harm, she just wanted help.

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    • I understand the need as well if she kept her pill addiction quiet or said he had but the urine didn’t display it. In this case, she was clean or on the verge of being clean. I can see government officials and doctors wanted to prevent a relapse, but at the same time this mother seemed to have everything under control with her child’s safety put first.

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    • I am curious with more awareness coming with reproductive justice if things will change or if we will hear more choice of having midwives. After watching documentaries and reading blogs my perspectives of midwives have changed, in a way that I am considering that choice more.

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  2. This article reminds me a lot of the talks we had about reproductive justice on Monday with Professor Flavin and Mrs. Diaz-Tello. The justice system in our country relies heavily on criminalization and imprisonment. I think that if we had more preventative measures for things like drug abuse rather than “correctional” measures, we would have less of a problem. This subject just adds another layer to the intersectionality we’ve been talking about.

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