The my child, my right to abuse it defense
ITEM Kimberly Hardy used crack cocane just hours before her son was bom. When the son was bom crack addicted, she was convicted (of delivering cocaine to her son through the umbilical cord). This decision was reversed by the Michigan Supreme Court62
ITEM A million crack-addicted children have been bom snce 1987. but only sixty of the mothers have faced cnmnal charges. One was convicted.63
ITEM In the United States. 11 percent of all babies are bom to drug-abusing mothers.64 This happens predominantly n mother-only homes65 (although only 21 percent of children live in mother-only homes66). ("Mother’s Day." in
drug dealer terminology, e the day mothers get welfare checks and line up at crack houses.67)
When a mother aborts a fetus, it is debatable whether that fetus was a human life. But when a mother feeds crack to a fetus hours before it’s born and it is born as a crack-addicted child, it is clearly an abused child. If the child dies immediately, it is manslaughter. Does the right to choose mean the right to abuse?
What is really going on here? Is the issue whether or not the fetus has legal rights? No. We already know the answer to that. For example, if a crack- addicted mother got into a car accident and she killed the fetus of another woman, the crack-addicted mother would be held legally responsible. A woman does not have the right to abuse the fetus of another mother, she has the right to abuse just her own. Which is why this defense is called the my child, my right to abuse it defense What is really going on here is not fetal rights, not children’s rights, but mother’s rights. In the case of the 3 percent of Washington, DC, infants who die from cocaine addiction while no mothers go to prison, the right to choose means the right to kill – not a fetus but a child.
If we hold a drunk driver responsible for injury, why shouldn’t we hold a crack-addicted mother responsible for injury? In reality, the drunk driver injures a human being only occasionally, the crack-addicted mother injures a human being almost 100 percent of the time. Should the mother who addicts her child to crack have any more rights than another child abuser or drug dealer5 How can we give a normal drug dealer a life sentence but claim that a mother who deals drugs to her own child should not so much as stand trial? If we feel compassion for the circumstances that drove her to drugs, where is our compassion for the circumstances that drove the drug dealer to drugs, the child abuser to abuse, the murderer. . .
The mother who addicts her child to crack cocaine is not just a drug dealer and child abuser. In 1991 the first large wave of children prenatally exposed to crack entered the nation’s schools. Some of these children are prone to mental retardation, mild speech impairment and cerebral palsy. Others acquire language slowly, offer a jumble of markings as their names, do not understand numbers, or find it impossible just to line up quietly.6*1 These children are driving the best teachers to quit, therefore these mothers are not just abusers of their own child, they are abusers of their community’s children.
When the crack children are separated out into special classrooms, the yearly cost of educating them averages $15,000 per year, versus the normal $3,500 per year.69 It is one of the reasons public schools cost so much more than private schools. In this respect, average taxpayers are paying to have their own children’s education undermined; they are subsidizing their own children’s abuse.