Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Somebody Find Toto

Well, ya cain't say I didn't warn ya.  It was on this spot right here, only a few short months ago, that I told you what would be happening after pregnant women were banned from all the big cities.  Being caught in a metropolis with a bun in the oven will lead to an immediate charge of felonious breathing, as I think Margaret Atwood would call it.  Or reckless endangerment through inhalation of toxic gases.  Imagine, having the nerve, the unremitting gall to walk through New York or Boston or San Francisco, while pregnant, and knowingly inhale air known to be toxic to fetuses.  No different than Utah's skiing-while-pregnant ban or Florida's preborn human sun exposure law.  Nope.  We're having no more of these scandals.  I'm sorry, but that's it.  We're just gonna send them all to Kansas.

Why?  Because pregnant women are irresponsible and only take their own selfish feelings and demands for liberty into consideration.  Because in spite of all the scientific evidence that says women only exist as containers for preborn babies, there's always one or two that have to hop up and down and squawk about their "personhood" and their "rights."  Because Kansas is the only place that's safe.  Sorry, everybody in Wichita and Topeka and Olathe, but you're going to have company.  A lot of it.  For the  next nine months.

Think of it.  Millions of women packed onto Greyhound buses without a nay-say or maybe as soon as that little stick turns blue.  Shipped from around the country to the safest state in the Union (unless there's a tornado).  No skiing, no surfing, no sunbathing, no sex or drugs or alcohol.  (Well, there is that little crystal meth problem, but we'll get rid of that; we'll just jack up the sentences for possession and manufacturing and everybody'll be scared and, you know, just stop making and selling the stuff.) Nine months of perfect safety for the fetuses and their containers and then all the babies will be born healthy!  And that's what we want, isn't it?

Ah, perhaps you think I exaggerate. Or perhaps you think I'm off my proverbial rocker.  Well, you could be right about that second thing, but I'm afraid I am not exaggerating.  Take a look at this lawsuit, recently filed in Federal Court by the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (and ponder, for a moment, why we even need such an advocacy.  Get back to me on that, will you?) Go down to the first orange link on the page.  Then read that sucker.  Yes, I know it's fifty-odd pages long. Read it anyway.  If you're anything like me, you won't be able to put it down.

Brief recap of the facts:  Alicia Beltran, a woman and, by definition, a human being, sought prenatal care at a local clinic in Milwaukee.  She confidentially told the doctor that she had been treated for prescription drug abuse and had been taking Suboxone, a pain medication.  She'd stopped taking it because she found out she was pregnant.  A few days later, five policemen came to her house and arrested her.  She was handcuffed, shackled and taken to a court hearing that she knew nothing about. An attorney had been appointed to represent the interests of her 14-week-old fetus.  (I am not making this up.  It's all in the lawsuit.  Go back and read it again.)  There was, however, no attorney appointed to represent Alicia Beltran, the living, breathing, already born woman.  With no testimony from any medical experts whatsoever and with Ms. Beltran not allowed to speak, the judge ordered her involuntarily committed to an inpatient drug treatment program two hours away from her family.  She has been a prisoner there since July 13, 2013.

Now, let's consider this for a second.

It is not illegal to take a prescription drug.

It is not illegal to refuse medical treatment.

It is not illegal to seek another medical opinion.

It is illegal for a doctor to release information about a patient without that patient's consent to a third party.  The law that governs that kind of conduct is called HIPPA.  It is also highly unethical for a doctor to release information given to him or her under the doctor-patient privilege, which is what happened here.

It is illegal to use intimidation or threats under color of authority, such as sending a social worker to someone's house and threatening that someone with losing custody of her children, to get that person to do something that you want. It was illegal for the doctor to send the social worker out there and it was illegal of the social worker to go.

It is very very illegal to kidnap a woman from her house, haul her away in chains, and lock her up someplace.  Yet somehow, Alicia Beltran needs a Federal lawsuit to get her out of a situation that never should have happened in the first place.

I can hear some of you thinking.  (Psychic powers.  I has 'em.)  And what I can hear some of you thinking is along the lines of "But what if she relapses and goes back on the drugs?  That would be bad for her baby, so it's better if she stays locked up until she gives birth."



Okay. Let's try this.  Somebody grabs you off the street, shackles you, throws you into a car, drives you to what's obviously a prison and surrounds you with police officers.  After several hours you finally get into what looks like a courtroom and there's a judge and you think, "Oh thank God, now we can clear up this mix-up," because obviously there's been one, right?  And then the judge winks at the guys who kidnapped you and says, "It's okay, boys.  She's pregnant."

Guess what.  Illegal behavior is illegal behavior whether the victim is pregnant or not.  Kidnapping is illegal,  Being addicted to a substance is not illegal.  Trying to quit the addictive substance on your own, without some nice rehab counselor holding your hand every step of the way, is not illegal.

No one ever offered any evidence that Alicia Beltran was using drugs.  No one tested her for drug use.  No one, as far as I can tell, even bothered to ask her, "Hey.  Pop any Suboxone today?"  Even if they had, though, that wouldn't justify anything that happened.  Again, being a drug addict is not illegal.

In fact, the law treats pregnant people and nonpregnant people almost exactly the same way.  There are a few exceptions for pregnant people who are under 18, but not many.  It is legal for a pregnant woman to drink.  It is legal for a pregnant woman to go skiing.  It is legal for a pregnant woman to go skydiving, go Rocky Mountain climbing, go 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fu Manchu.  And it is illegal for a pregnant woman to do drugs, only insofar as it's illegal for anyone else to use drugs.

Believe me, if we could outlaw stupid behavior, we'd need enough prisons to fill the entire state of Texas.

It burns me up that more news agencies aren't following this story.  Why CNN and NBC aren't pounding on the doors of Casa Clare, demanding to speak to Alicia Beltran.  Why isn'lt Amnesty International protesting outside on the sidewalk? Where's the ACLU, when you really need them? Why aren't sixteen helicopters circling that rehab facility 24/7, demanding to know what the hell is going on? Because the last time I Googled it - 30 seconds ago - I found one story on Reuters and it was under a headline about Democrats and the shutdown.

Well, I intend to make some noise.  Do what I can to get some attention.  Send this blog post to people I know who will give a damn and might even write about it.  I may be a Buddhist with a Nook at a table at Afrah, but by God, you don't want to piss me off. I type mean when I'm mad.

No comments: