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Teratogen - Drug Effects on the Fetus

1. How do you think we as society handle the many incidents of expecting mothers who are addicted to illegal substances? For example say an expecting mom test positive for large amounts of cocaine several times when visiting the doctor for prenatal care. How do you think this incident should be handled?

2. Think in terms of custody of the child, treatment, imprisonment, and other actions that our society may take.

3. Also do you think that the action differ based on the legality of the substance, since tobacco, alcohol, and non-prescription drugs can also negatively affect a developing fetus.

I need assistance with these questions. Thank you.

Solution Preview

Let's take a closer look through discussion and examples.

1. How do you think we as society handle the many incidents of expecting mothers who are addicted to illegal substances? For example, say an expecting mom test positive for large amounts of cocaine several times when visiting the doctor for prenatal care.

This is an ethical issue that is hotly debated (the mom's rights versus the baby's rights).

Some argue that it is the mother's right to make choices (autonomy and freedom to make own choices e.g. pro-choice) to do with her body as she sees fit (with no regard for the fetus) regardless of substance, illegal or otherwise. The other side of the debate argues for the rights on behalf of the child, who needs advocates until s/he is born, for the mother to abstain from all drugs and alcohol known to affect the baby growing inside her. However, caffeine and nicotine are often ignored, which have proven to also have negative impacts on later cognitive abilities, for example.

Where do you fit yourself in terms of the above two positions? This will determine what types of actions you would consider to be right, just or morale (ethical) in relation to the pregnant mother using illegal or other harmful substances that could harm her unborn child.

2. How do you think this incident should be handled? Think in terms of custody of the child, treatment, imprisonment, and other actions that our society may take.

Obviously, women shouldn't be smoking, drinking or abusing drugs ...

Solution Summary

Related to teratogen and drug effects of the fetus, this solution responds fully to the questions.

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