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HLSC 220 Identifying Alcohol and Other Drugs in Women Body During Pregnancy Assignment 1 Answer


ASSIGNMENT 1 Argumentative Essay Weighting: 50%

Length and/or format: 1500 words (+/- 10%)

Purpose: The purpose of this assessment is for students to demonstrate the capacity to develop an ethical argument/s based on the four ethical principles: autonomy, justice, beneficence, and non-maleficence. Students will use their allocated topic to develop a sound ethical argumentative opinion piece.

Assignment details: During the 1st week of lectures your tutor will allocate a topic for discussion from the prescribed four options. Using the allocated topic given to you construct an argumentative essay.

Learning outcomes assessed: 1 & 2

Assessment criteria: Marking will be undertaken using a rubric (see Appendix 1 in your unit outline). Please include the word count of your assignment on the front page of your assignment or in a header. Please note that in-text citations are included in the word count whilst the reference list is not included in the word count. Words that are more than 10% over the word count will not be considered Please see further information in the section titled ‘Word Count’ in your unit outline.


  1. Healthcare workers have a moral obligation to care for COVID19 patients and cannot object to caring for these patients.
  2. Organ retrieval should be performed on all deceased persons despite objections from loved ones.
  3. Expectant mothers who misuse alcohol and/or illicit drugs should be subject to mandatory reporting requirements for child abuse.
  4. Governments should have the authority to stop citizens from participating in community activities when they refuse immunizations.


Executive Summary 

The child protection service involves the pregnant woman (Coathup et al., 2017), the services accept the report based on pregnant women with attention given to the usage of addictive substances during the pregnancy which might pose a severe risk when the child is born. Some jurisdictions are supporting intense support programs for pregnant women. Alcohol or other drugs have a teratogenic effect on the woman's body at the time of pregnancy.  Identifying the alcohol and the other drugs in the women body during pregnancy aims to explore the issue and also the adaptation policies.


The criminalisation of substance use during pregnancy because of harm is a debatable subject. Using substances during motherhood and pregnancy is a criminal offence. Since 1974 the federal government has served to mobilise society's mental health, social service, and legal and law enforcement to address the challenges. The complicated problem of child abuse and neglect has increased dramatically. There is a lack of data of numbers for pregnant women who have been identified who tend to have alcohol and or other drugs AOD (McGrory et al., 2020) during their pregnancy.   In such a complicated situation and a multifunctional disadvantage requires a partnership, a both sided respondent program, since the beginning of the pregnancy. Despite knowing a criminal offence if a pregnant woman still uses the substances have been charged and also considered as a criminal offence. These offences include child endangerment, abasement, drug delivery etc.  In two states, South Carolina and Alabama all the conviction is upheld with the state supreme court. This research paper also reveals that only 24 judicial opinions have been published between 1977 and 2015 in the case of 29 women prosecuted. 


Expectant mothers who misuse alcohol or to a co and illicit drugs are potentially placed under the public health and criminal justice department systems as the substances harm the children as well as the expectant mother. The public health and criminal jurisdiction point out that it is against ethics and morality for expectant mothers to abuse alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs during pregnancy as it has a significant impact on the children. It was seen that maternal and infant health deteriorated with the abuse. There is criminal justice that deals with deviant mothers and the mandatory reporting systems have been tightly regulated to show the delinquent felon of the mothers and they should be apprehended under child abuse practice under the criminal law of respective countries (Hoerr et al., 2018). Criminal justice prevails with the socio-economic brackets that include issues such as foetus protectionism. The mothers have to undergo arrest, conviction, or put under surveillance to demonstrate the safety of the child's health and the mother's health. Sometimes even the child is removed from the mother who is, in turn, is also malicious practice. The National Survey of Drug Use and Health (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2019) states that expectant mothers in the age group of 15-44 are using alcohol and the percentage of the women are around 9.4% 2.6% of the expectant mothers go for binge drinking, and 0.4% of the mothers go for heavy drinking. There has been an increased and significant rise in tobacco misuse around 17.6% of the expectant mothers. There are figures and information that show that 5% of the mothers use illicit drugs during their pregnancy. These are slowly spreading globally, and there have been more jurisdictions increased in the whole system. According to Criminal Justice Law, the mothers are to be reported under child abuse, and they should be given proper rehabilitation and psychological treatment to cope up with the time of pregnancy other there will be a healthy combination to both mother's and child's life (Fuller-Thomson et al., 2019). The common diseases that are observed among the foetus include Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), around 0.2-2 cases are seen among the 1000 live births as per CDC reports. This has significantly risen in recent years. There are other communities such as the Mideastern community in the USA, and it is seen that around 6-9 foetuses among 1000 live births are found to have Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). So there is a massive need for implementation of law around this regarding child abuse that should be mandatory reported to the justice officials. If the law takes the issue into their hands, the expectant and teenaged mothers will be aware of the situation. There should be high implications of these rules as the child born suffers from diseases such as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), none functioning of the nervous system, pulmonary system, and gastrointestinal tract. The children's welfare bodies should be implicated with these problems and help in the mitigation of these situations. Various laws abstain from the mothers, but there should be massive surveillance of the condition otherwise the expectant mother once again goes for the abuse of substances such as illicit drugs, tobacco, and alcohol (Hafekost et al., 2017).

The mothers who have these misuse of drug habits either belong to teenage years or mothers who belong to complicated backgrounds such as high spirited women and expectant mothers who are from the lower socio-economic backgrounds. These mothers are to be taken care of by the families and communities who can indulge with them and understand the reasons what is causing these types of conditions. The importance of health therapies, such as socio-dynamic therapies is to be exposed to them. The mandatory reporting to the child protection and jerking in restrain houses will make intricated setbacks for the mothers where that might have suicidal tendencies, or they might undergo involuntary abortions which will be fatal to her health(Urgelles et al., 2017).The child protection should provide adequate support to these mothers and help in the nursing of the importance of drug redressal. The unborn children will be born with diseases which might make them paralysed or non-functional for the whole life or there might be early onset of natural termination of pregnancies in such cases. The reports show that around 3.5% of such instances deteriorate the reproductive and maternal health of the mothers. The time when the mothers want for pregnancies that time becomes hard to conceive. So it is vital to look after the pregnant mother rather than putting criminal charges against her. This understanding has to be brought to the laws that safeguard the child protection acts (Freisthler et al., 2017).

Drugs are considered as a matter of risk for the child's treatment. According to a survey

Bridget Freisthler, they have conducted a survey with 2597 people from 43 cities with a proper record (police data regarding narcotics). They analyse the relationship between drug use and drug availability. Parents who are using drugs with a wide availability reported they have gone with more physical abuse. Some organisations try to reduce child abuse by reducing the drugs available to the pregnant woman. Current Australian policy and practice is taking a clinical approach to reducing AOD use during pregnancy. Due to this drastic drug involvement, the child will bear with a default illness, which also leads to paralysed, or they might not do anything throughout their life. According to research, it has been found that the woman when they want to conceive that is not the right time. This is the right time to engage the law and make fruitful findings for the safety of children and also for their protection. The need for cross-disciplinary training of staff and better collaboration across various sectors and services was identified as a necessity. But we also need to understand that we need to know that alcohol consumption is decreasing day by day for the pregnant woman for the good strong rules which are implemented. We should also acknowledge that as the high usage of contraceptive in the general population, almost 50% of pregnancies are unintended. Women who have a risky pattern of drinking are likely to continue their drinking in their pregnancy.   

The states that have laws reveal the study that children must be protected against parental drug and that the other states should have the law to publish such abasement reports. In different states it requires child abuse report implicitly, now a day's parents (Högberg et al., 2016) are strictly addicted to alcohol, and that has been a big problem so, for that it is essential to publish those reports.  The existence of the requirement to report, which does not mean that clinical people should ignore the relationship that they might have developed with their parents. If parents are appropriate, then they should come forward and should report themselves to the child protective agency. Though state laws change frequently, so no one can give a moral idea of what it should be.  State laws are cryptic very much, and the sufferings of the wrong decision are very high. It is only possible for women if they would get benefitted from some comprehensive care and good observation and also with good advocacy. This study provides its ideas and identifies the promises for future policy. 

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