Be prepared to have your child seized by the government if you like to eat bagels

Recently, a couple had their child taken away shortly after birth because the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (NJDYFS) suspected child neglect.  One of the reasons the NJDYFS suspected this was because the mother refused to preemptively consent to a C-section.  In that case, some may have been inclined to give the government the benefit of the doubt, writing it off as an isolated incident.  However, a more recent incident further lends credence to the idea that the government is an incompetent, child-snatching construct of fascism.

One day after Liz Mort gave birth a baby girl, the police and child protective services came to her home in Pennsylvania and stole her child from her.  Said Ms. Mort, “I was shocked… I just started crying.” And rightly so, since she had done absolutely nothing wrong.

What Ms. Mort did do was commit the horrible, irresponsible, and utterly deplorable act of eating an “Everything” bagel, containing poppy seeds, the morning before giving birth.  This caused her to test positive for drug use (more here).  Ingesting poppy seeds can leave traces of morphine and codeine in a person’s urine.

Jameson Hospital, where Ms. Mort gave birth, tests mothers of newborns for drugs, and the state of PA allows this.  However, neither the hospital nor the government gave any thought to consumption of poppy seeds. The show Seinfeld figured out that eating poppy seeds can cause a person to test positive for drugs in an episode called The Shower Head, aired on February 15, 1996.  Fourteen years later, the government apparently still hasn’t figured this out.

Although the hospital can also be blamed for its idiocy in this matter, without government force and the usual heavy-handed and violent cooperation of law enforcement, a hospital that finds some positive tests results on its hands would not have the power to forcibly remove a newborn child from her innocent mother.  Without government force, it would likely be left up to family members (who undoubtedly have an interest in the baby’s well-being) to resolve the matter, perhaps through reasoned discussion, investigation, or encouragement or suggestions from the hospital.

Introduce the government, and suddenly we have the unjustified, unreasonable, and completely unnecessary seizure of a newborn infant before it is even clear what the mother has done.

Government collaboration with healthcare providers is a patient’s worst nightmare, as evinced by the case of the couple in New Jersey, and Ms. Mort. Mothers now must fear their every medical decision – any treatment they choose, or anything they may disclose to their physicians must depend not only on health considerations, but upon legal considerations, with the understanding that any procedure chosen, any test taken, or any information disclosed could lead to to one’s child being immediately seized.  As if pregnancy and birth are not difficult enough as it is.

Georgia Sand

Georgia (George) Sand is an attorney located in sunny California. She enjoys beer, jogging, the beach, music, and chatting with her cats in her spare time.