Should pregnant women be punished for behavior that can harm their fetus? .
Of course they should! When a mother uses drugs or alcohol during pregnancy she drastically increases the chances of mild or severe birth defects to her child (NCADD Alcohol Related Birth Defects). This can lead to mental retardation, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, deafness, blindness, paralyses, physical deformities and or abnormalities. In some cases it has even been known to cause death. An estimated 40,000 to 375,000 babies that were exposed to drugs and alcohol were born with birth defects such as cleft pallet, heart murmurs, abnormalities in facial features, etc (Alcohol and drug related Birth Defects). These are facts and it has been proven. .
As a mother, how can one continue such behavior knowing the damage it is causing to their children. Women are supposed to have a maternal instinct to ensure the survival of their offspring. They shouldn't gamble with the child's life just to get high or drunk every once and a while. Its not right, and if that's not bad enough, women even have the choice of whether or not to become pregnant in the first place. Take this into consideration, a woman is technically given three choices before she actually decides to have a baby. First she has the option to use contraception during sexual intercourse, this being condoms, birth control, spermicidal, you name it its out there. Next, if she failed to use contraception, she can attain "The Day After Pill "or "72 hour Pill". Finally if all else fails, women even have the option to get an abortion. If she has an abortion, then the pregnancy is terminated and the deal is done. There will then be nothing to worry about and she is free to go about her business. .
However, if and when she decides to keep that child, the woman has then taken on a responsibility, a parental duty if you will. She must change her priorities and the baby must come first.