The drug war: Terminating motherhood

By Nell Bernstein

By Letters to the Editor

Published October 30, 2000 5:23AM (EST)

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Thanks for the article. It is about time our government got it together and realized that mothers who use drugs are UNFIT mothers and do not deserve to be mothers. I am so glad to see that these junkie losers are finally getting what they deserve and their children are finally getting a better life through adoption. Those who use drugs while pregnant or while they have children do not deserve to have their children. They absolutely deserve to have them taken away permanently. I will gladly pay my taxes to see that we build more prisons to put more women away for drug offenses. It doesn't matter if they are violent or not. They are destroying their children's lives and their children deserve better then to grow up with trash like the mothers mentioned in your article.

-- Katherine Motto

I find it offensive that the concept of children as a motivation to "clean up" is repeatedly mentioned in this article. Children are not carrots to be dangled before an errant parent, nor do any of them deserve to go through years in a foster care system (and thus denied a stable home) so that a woman can get them back someday. Children are not objects to be returned. It has been my experience that most children are nonetheless still pulled from homes too late, after so much damage has been done to them that they cannot, without significant and stable intervention, be expected to lead "normal" lives.

This legislation was written in the best interests of the children. While it may be punitive to the mother of these children, that doesn't disturb me. I certainly don't feel that it's unfair that these mothers "lost" their children. I think it's unfair that a child had to be born to parents who commit crimes.

-- Catherine Witzel

It continually amazes me that people go out of their way for decades to live in a certain way, complain about the consequences and are supported by the media in this pathetic quest for pity. Instead of the cute picture of this "family," why don't you show us a picture of the wreckage this woman has left behind during her years as a meth dealer? No doubt a lot of the people she sold drugs to or stole from have yet to make the decision to straighten out, and are dead or dying. It's too bad her family has been taken away, but she should have considered this consequence a long, long time ago. She was given every chance. Shame on you for this ridiculous piece of tripe.

-- Tracy Cervellone

I was the child of a drug-using, crime-involved parent. I resented the repeated separations, how my parent would show up out of the blue and tear me away from whatever stability I had been able to build with whichever relative was taking care of me then, and I wished somebody would do something permanent to lessen the chaos in my life. But I was lucky: At least I had relatives who were able to, wanted to and chose to take me in, over and over again, by turns, while my parent worked out the issues that prevented us from being a healthy family.

Of course, this was back in the '60s and '70s, in a white, middle-class family, long before the War on Some Drugs. As far as I know, my parent never did time. And you could get a job with little or no skills that paid enough to support a family. And no government agency had been involved, so we could be together. Times, they do change.

-- Kris Hasson Jones

It is absolutely appalling to me that parental rights can be so easily terminated without careful scrutiny to each individual situation. This is just another example of what a mess we have when government tries to solve social problems. No children should be torn from their mothers except in cases of abuse of or endangerment to the child. I wonder if the politicians who make these laws have given any long-term consideration to what is going to happen to the next generation who have been affected by this.

-- Karen Pearce

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