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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ind. Gov't. - "AG Zoeller steps into debate over mandatory drug testing for pregnant women" [Updated]

Barb Berggoetz of the Indianapolis Star had a long story Sept. 24th that began:

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller says he merely wanted to draw attention to the growing problem of babies being born with symptoms of prescription drug withdrawal.

What he actually did was spark a debate, mostly in cyberspace, about whether drug testing for pregnant women should be mandatory.

Two nationally-based groups, MoveOn, and RH Reality Check, are circulating an online petition calling on Zoeller to apologize for asking state lawmakers to approve mandatory drug testing and to stop inciting disrespect for pregnant women’s civil liberties. The petition has more than 3,500 signatures.

Zoeller says he has never called for mandatory testing. * * *

Zoeller said Monday that he regretted his comments were misinterpreted and have taken the focus away from reaching solutions. * * *

It’s a problem that concerns Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, who chairs the Commission on Mental Health and Addiction. The commission is also studying the problem and plans to make recommendations to the legislature.

“I think there is merit in testing, but the bigger question is if women test positive, then what do we do?” Miller said.

She said doctors have told her not enough drug addiction treatment programs are available and some don’t accept pregnant women. But, she said, the commission is meeting Tuesday to further discuss the problem.

Zoeller said his task force also intends to make recommendations to the legislature. The task force consists of about 80 doctors, law enforcement officials, legislators, attorneys general and health department representatives.

“Physicians are the ones who should really lead this,” Zoeller said. “It’s certainly not the role for a lawyer. I’m not really one to tell the doctors in the task force what to recommend.”

[Updated] See also this post from Jim Shella's Blog, that begins:
Attorney General Greg Zoeller is under fire for suggesting that the state could save big money by drug testing pregnant women. Zoeller says he was misunderstood..

Or just maybe he was floating a trial balloon. Either way, Greg Zoeller wants everyone to know that he is not calling for mandatory drug testing for pregnant women in Indiana.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 26, 2013 09:06 AM
Posted to Indiana Government