Judge orders drug addict to stop having children

  1. ROCHESTER, New York (AP) -- A Family Court judge who last year stirred debate about parental responsibilities ordered a second drug-addicted woman to have no more children until she proves she can look after the seven she already has.

    The 31-year-old mother, identified in court papers only as Judgette W., lost custody of her children, ranging in age from eight months to 12 years, in child-neglect hearings dating back to 2000. Six are in foster care at state expense and one lives with an aunt.

    The youngest child and two others tested positive for cocaine at birth and all seven "were removed from her care and custody because she could not and did not take care of them," Judge Marilyn O'Connor said in a December 22 decision made public Tuesday.

    "Because every child born deserves a mother and a father, or at the very least a mother or a father, this court is once again taking this unusual step of ordering this biological mother to conceive no more children until she reclaims her children from foster care or other caretakers," O'Connor wrote.

    In a similar ruling last March, O'Connor ordered a drug-addicted, homeless mother of four to refrain from bearing children until she won back care of her children. The decision, the first of its kind in New York, is being appealed.
    Full story here http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/01/05/ch....ap/index.html

    I am not going to come down either side of this story - I came across it on another website and thought everyone might be interested.
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  2. 30 Comments

  3. by   Tweety
    Sounds similar to a patient I took care of recently. Her 6th child had been taken away from her at birth. She was a cocaine addict and a prostitute and declared an unfit mother for all six of her children.

    I know we can't play God and decide who can and can't have children. (But heaven forbid we let a homosexual adopt a child, sorry rant is off topic. LOL). I'm very understanding when it comes to out of control addiction. However, this lady should have her tubes tied against her will. The poor crack babies suffer for most of their lives.
  4. by   Spidey's mom
    Tweety - I agree. With safeguards built in to make sure courts don't go crazy.

    I see it so much - it breaks my heart.

    My son just walked in here singing "I've got a song in my bones and it wants to come out". Where did he get that? :chuckle

    Kids deserve to live with some security and love.

    steph
  5. by   mattsmom81
    There was a case in Texas where a judge ordered a man to stop having sex...he had 3 women all taking him to court for unpaid child support.

    Seems someone should be looking out for the rights of the unborn children in all these cases, rather than the rights of irresponsible adults to have indiscriminate sex and procreate.

    But I know we get onto a slippery slope when we start deciding who can reproduce.
  6. by   Thunderwolf
    I've seen it too often too. The kids pay the price. I say, snip their tubes! Some folks, unfortunately, have their "brains in their genitals". I say, a "little brain surgery" may go a long way.

    Kids shouldn't have to suffer because mommy or daddy is an addict or is irresponsible. Seen too many heroin users who daily make that choice regarding their kids and grandkids.

    Chemical castration of rapists and child molesters have my vote too!
    Last edit by Thunderwolf on Jan 7, '05
  7. by   edeverges
    things are in such a sad state of affairs in this country. i certainly do not know how to solve this issue. one of the first nursing assignments i had when i was working on my bsn was with the local health department community nursing section following a high risk pregnancy client. she was in her forties and had previously had several children taken away from her by the deprtment of social services for failure to thrive. she was very guarded with the information she provided ( she would not provide the name of the father of the child) i had to remind myself that i was there to take her blood pressure and promote her health and the fetus' health. i had never been in a home setting with such poor living conditions. it was winter in the mountains, she and two other women ( neices) were in one room with one window which was missing the glass portion of the window so black plastic covered the area where the glass panel would normally have been. this room was being heated with a kerosene heater. theonly room that could be seen from this area was the kitchen. the kitchen had a dirt floor and a roster flew into the room and crowed from the kitchen table. the mother would not comply with clinic visits but allowed visits to her home throughout her pregnancy. to my knowledge this child was removed from her care also. i am devastated by our society but as far as nursing care i feel we have one of the best inthe world.
  8. by   SharonH, RN
    Good for this judge! Somebody needs to stop this tragedy from widening. Giving birth to cocaine-addicted babies and then dooming them to foster care is incredibly cruel and this woman needs to be stopped.
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    sooo those adamantly against sterilizing such people, how many chances should they get to mess up and how many kids should suffer before SOMEONE stops them? What would be the answer? this person is doing monstrous things to innocents who have no say in their situations.
  10. by   Elenaster
    I'm all for protection of reproductive rights, however I don't equate that with staying high and spitting out babies that you can't take care of left and right.

    Deb, you bring up an interesting question about where we set the limits on this. The woman in the article had seven, and IMO that's seven too many.
  11. by   BeachNurse
    Quote from stevielynn
    Tweety - I agree. With safeguards built in to make sure courts don't go crazy.

    I see it so much - it breaks my heart.

    My son just walked in here singing "I've got a song in my bones and it wants to come out". Where did he get that? :chuckle

    Kids deserve to live with some security and love.

    steph
    I've heard that song..it's on Noggin (Nickelodeon for pre-schoolers). Some woman with a guitar sings in between shows. My daughter loves her!
  12. by   BeachNurse
    Quote from SharonH, RN
    Good for this judge! Somebody needs to stop this tragedy from widening. Giving birth to cocaine-addicted babies and then dooming them to foster care is incredibly cruel and this woman needs to be stopped.
    I agree! I have a 22 year old niece who has four that were taken away just before Christmas. The four month old is still in NICU (born 24-weeker, cocaine +). Yes, she is pregnant again--with the 5th.
  13. by   traumaRUs
    I say bravo to this judge. My area of practice is a large ER and its pathetic to see these women come in with multiple children that are dirty, ill-kempt and malnourished.
  14. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from BeachNurse
    I agree! I have a 22 year old niece who has four that were taken away just before Christmas. The four month old is still in NICU (born 24-weeker, cocaine +). Yes, she is pregnant again--with the 5th.
    Oh BeachNurse I'm so sorry about your niece's kids. I have a couple of sisters like her though. So it is personal for me too.

    steph

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