Should Pregnant Women be Tested for Drugs?

Should Pregnant Women be Subjected to Drug Testing?

Drug testing isn’t always an easy issue to talk about because so many people see the issue differently. There are those that feel drug testing is a great process and others that feel it violates personal rights. There are plenty of categories of such testing that are touchy too. One of them is the issue of pregnant women – should they be subjected to drug testing?

Should Pregnant Women be Tested for DrugsGovernment Medical Help

One of the pushes right now is to get it mandated for women who receive government medical help during their pregnancy to be subjected to drug testing. This can be done randomly or it can be through their doctor at certain points in the pregnancy. Routine blood work is already done and it should show if any woman is taking illegal drugs. Yet it wouldn’t be right to prevent her from getting prenatal care if it is positive.

Insurance Plans

Many insurance programs that offer coverage for a pregnancy would like to see it mandatory for women to be drug tested during the pregnancy. They feel that this could cut down on the risk of babies being born with drug related health problems. When babies are born with such needs, it increased the cost that the insurance plan pays out for their care. Therefore, they are willing to do what they can to reduce their costs.

Help for Women

Such drug testing could help women who are using drugs to get the treatment they need. It could make a huge difference for their own well-being as well as that for their unborn child. One thing that many health care professionals fear though is that such laws could hurt women and unborn children. It may reduce the number of women who seek prenatal care because they don’t want to be caught using drugs.

4th Amendment

There have been cases that have gotten quite sticky regarding pregnant women being tested in the hospital for illegal drugs. This law can be hard to allow any such testing that occurs without the consent of the mother to be used in a court of law. This includes when child protection services has been called in to investigate due to the child being considered at risk with the parent.

Parental Rights

In many states, the rights of the mother trump those of the unborn child. A baby born addicted to drugs or alcohol will have special needs. Yet the mother isn’t held accountable the state of the baby.

The Case for Mandatory Drugs Testing

Some say that employers claim the right to test employees as a condition of employment (before hiring) and randomly thereafter.  It is for the safety of co-workers and the public-at-large or anyone the employee happens to come into contact with.

In that case, it is required that the employee report to work fit and unimpaired for the protection of life and property.  The employer’s insurance companies exert influence by offering lower cost premiums to companies that have implemented drug testing programs.

A discussion about that topic can be found here:

On the flip side of that, the premiums might be inflated for those companies that don’t have a drugs testing policy in place.

By that logic, health care companies may see fit to exert influence on pregnant women by requiring drug testing to determine –and, hopefully limit their exposure upon the birth of an addicted baby.  Intervention would seem to benefit all involved.

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