Opposing abortion alone does not make someone pro-life. That stance is merely “pro-birth,” according to Sister Joan Chittister, a Catholic nun and thus a member of a broad, billion-person-strong social movement—the Catholic Church—which does not look kindly upon abortion. To be pro-life, one must care for someone after they’re born, not just before.
So. What makes someone so concerned with the welfare of the unborn that they’d like to imprison their mothers for even the slightest taste of cannabis while pregnant—creating a sort of ob-gyn to prison pipeline?
“Fucking crazy” might be one reasonable conclusion. It would also make you a “Wyoming state lawmaker,” such as the cabal in Cheyenne that’s pushing a new package of drug laws.
The brainchild of Rep. Jim Blackburn, Rep. Mark Jennings, Rep. Jared Olsen, Rep. Nathan Winters and Sen. Ogden Driskill—dudes, all of them, of course—the bill creates stiff penalties for a pregnant mother who uses any illegal drug, and even stiffer penalties for anyone who provides the pregnant mother with said drug.
Nobody would argue using methamphetamine or heroin while pregnant is a good idea. Same thing with alcohol or tobacco. Conveniently, the way this law is written, it would be remarkably easy to punish a mother for even the slightest marijuana use.
To be guilty of “drug-induced infant homicide,” a mother need only give “birth to a viable infant during or after drug use,” after which point “and the infant dies, or drug use contributes to the infant’s death.” That would be a felony punishable by 10 years in prison.
The threshold to be guilty of “drug-induced infant abuse,” which carries a five-year prison term, is even lower: A mother faces that penalty if she uses “an illegal narcotic drug while pregnant and gives birth to a child who tests positive for any amount of that drug” (emphasis ours).
Before you fool yourself into thinking this is reasonable, remember the context.
More mothers than ever before are using cannabis during pregnancy in order to deal with morning sickness. To all the men out there: Imagine being sick, every day, in some cases for most of the day. Then imagine being in a situation where you had to eat in order to deliver nutrition to the thing growing inside you, but being too sick to do so.
It’s still not clear what happens to a child whose mother uses marijuana during pregnancy, though some studies suggest there’s no issue at all.
This comes shortly after the DEA recently specified that cannabidiol, CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, is a Schedule I drug. And finally, since marijuana is fat-soluble and stays in the body for weeks or longer after use, the takeaway is that if this passes, a mother who so much as sniffs cannabis during pregnancy could lose her child and end up in the state pen for a five-spot.
But that’s nothing compared to the individual who delivered the drugs to the expectant mother.
If someone “knowingly” delivers a Schedule I or II controlled substance to a pregnant mother, they risk a prison term of between 10 and 25 years, according to K2Radio.
Methamphetamine is a huge problem in Wyoming, according to the Justice Department… just as drug abuse is an issue anywhere the economy is trash, including poor neighborhoods in big liberal cities. And like everywhere else, heroin use has come roaring back in Wyoming, riding the crest of the tsunami of prescription pills unleashed in America, as a 2015 story in GQ detailed.
You don’t often hear more incarceration and more crime as the solution to these ills—at least not in serious academic or scientific circles. But that’s not the thinking when you’re pro-birth—and pro-prison.