A South Carolina hospital rountinely tested the urine of pregnant women suspected to be using alcohol and/or illegal drugs and reported the evidence to police. Ten women were arrested, some of them in their hospital rooms almost immediately after giving birth. Some of these women sued the hospital arguing that the urine tests constitutes an illegal search without their consent. In March 2001, the US Supreme Court invalidated the hospital’s drug testing policy.
In another South Carolina case, a young woman who had a stillbirth was convicted of homicide after an autopsy revealed evidence of cocaine in the baby’s body. She was sentenced to 12 years in prison and her conviction was not overturned by the Supreme Court.
In both cases the issue was the conflict between protecting the fetus and a woman’s right to privacy or to make her own decisions about her body. Please look at the following questions and post your responses in the Discussion Board.
1) Does society’s interest in protecting an unborn child justify coercive measures against pregnant women who ingest harmful substances?
2) Should pregnant women who refuse to stop drinking or get treatment be incarcerated until they give birth? Should mothers who repeatedly give birth to children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome be sterilized?
3) Should liquor companies be held liable if adequate warnings against use during pregnancy are not on their