Should pregnant women who smoke be charged with abuse?

@mmiller26 (1932)
May 20, 2007 7:58pm CST
My friend's step-mom smoked heavily through all three of her pregnancies. And the three children who were born all have problems which are undoubtedly associated with smoking; one is mentally challenged, one is schizophrenic and one was born disfigured. There was another pregnancy that resulted in still-birth. A short time after the still-born child, the father of the children died of lung cancer. Could all of this have been prevented if the mother had not smoked? I'm certain that most, if not all could have been prevented and the children would be healthy. I know of another woman who is currently pregnant, and every time I see her she has a cigarette in her hand. It makes me ill to think of that poor baby and what it must be suffering. I've known other women who got pregnant who promptly switched from full flavor to ultra-lights, thinking that that somehow made a difference. She claimed that it was too stressful to quit smoking, so she was just trying to cut down while she was pregnant. The thing is, ultra-lights have just as much nicotine, tar and other pollutants, and every time she inhales, that crap goes into her body, and thereby through the umbilical cord and into her child. Sure, it might be stressful to her to quit cold turkey, but it's immediately beneficial to the baby. I see this as a passive-aggressive form of child abuse. I mean, this mother is probably going to smoke around the baby after it's born, and unfortunately nothing can be done about that. But I doubt she'd go deliberately blow smoke into the child's face, which is pretty much what's happening here. And for those who have read my views about abortion, let me make myself clear. This thread is about mother's who have decided to carry the baby to term and are planning on keeping the child. I don't want to read any arguments about at what point life starts in the womb or anything like that. I feel that if you're going to abort anyway, feel free to smoke like a chimney if that makes you happy. But once a woman has made the decision to keep the baby, the woman must then make every effort to nurture that baby both inside the womb and out. A woman who is already showing or in the second and third trimester obviously is intending to have the baby, since abortion clinics won't abort past about 12-14 weeks. So, again, should a woman be charged with child abuse if she smokes while pregnant? Should she be charged if she does drugs while pregnant? Or if she drinks heavily? For those who already have children, did you smoke while you were pregnant or did you quit? I'd like to hear both sides of the story, if possible. If you do agree that women who smoke while pregnant should be charged, how do we get this into legislation to make it possible?
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