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Should the State Enforce Medical Treatment for Babies?

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I don’t think the issue is really that simple.  I think in your position there is a sense that what the current consensus says must be true and that an individual shouldn’t be allowed to challenge that.

No. I mean when it is the case that there is likely negligence to such a degree that a parent is being taken to court, choices must be made with regards to the court of who should make medical decisions. I don't know if taking custody is appropriate, but assigning a doctor is appropriate. I am not saying she is negligent because she didn't do what a doctor said. I am saying her basic responsibilities for having a kid means she is negligent. Because a court has deemed her negligent or her responsibility has been legitimately questioned, a medical expert should be the one to make the medical decisions for now. Nothing in the article said the court thought she was negligent for not giving her kid AZT.

 

AZT wasn't even part of it; AZT is irrelevant to the court proceeding. Please re-read what I quoted, even in the same article, AZT isn't cited as the reason custody was taken or why the mother was taken to court.

Edited by Eiuol

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No. I mean when it is the case that there is likely negligence to such a degree that a parent is being taken to court, choices must be made with regards to the court of who should make medical decisions. I don't know if taking custody is appropriate, but assigning a doctor is appropriate. I am not saying she is negligent because she didn't do what a doctor said. I am saying her basic responsibilities for having a kid means she is negligent. Because a court has deemed her negligent or her responsibility has been legitimately questioned, a medical expert should be the one to make the medical decisions for now. Nothing in the article said the court thought she was negligent for not giving her kid AZT.

 

AZT wasn't even part of it; AZT is irrelevant to the court proceeding. Please re-read what I quoted, even in the same article, AZT isn't cited as the reason custody was taken or why the mother was taken to court.

 

Apologies for the ramble, I thought you were making a judgment call that she was negligent.

 

But it is about AZT and other antiretrovirals which is the whole reason they confiscated the boy so they could put him on the drugs:

 

“Judge Fred Wellmann expressed concern that Lindsey Nagel and John Martinez of Brownsdale, parents of now 4-month-old Rico Martinez Nagel, would discontinue HIV antiretroviral treatment without the county’s supervision.

 

“Their statements that they wish to discontinue the antiretroviral medication and will continue to provide treatment only as long as it is legally required give the Court little choice but to retain jurisdiction in this matter to protect the child,” Wellmann wrote in his decision.“

 

Going to an alternate doctor and not answering your doctor’s phone calls is not negligence as far as I can see.  Making the decision not to take toxic drugs during pregnancy is also not negligence but personal choice.  Therefore, the state has its definition of negligence wrong and is wrong to do this.  I don’t believe in appointing a doctor to make parenting decisions for someone who is in control of their faculties, like this mother.  I think it’s a breach of basic freedom.  I’m not saying whether I agree with the mother’s decision or not but if it happened to me I would be furious. 

 

Imagine for a second the far out there hypothesis that these drugs don’t help anything.  Suspend disbelief.  That would mean the state is confiscating children and putting them on dangerous drugs possibly causing death for no reason.  The consensus of government science is that the drugs do work, the FDA approved them after all so they must be good.  The doctors say it is good.  Does that mean it is just--in this other world which isn’t our own? 

To prevent something like that I stick to my position that the government shouldn’t enforce medical treatment unless it is absolutely benign without harmful side effects such as proper food to the starving.  

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And if after all that, you still think the child should be taken by the state, why shouldn't obese children with diabetes be taken by the state and fed how the state wants?

Well, and that's the danger here; taken to its logical conclusion the state might (ala John Dewey) decide that certain ideas condition children to be antisocial, selfish and noncompliant and accordingly confiscate them.  Even restricted to the realm of physical fitness it's a scary thought.

That's why I find this so elegant:

So when can the government step in and interfere?  I think the distinguishing factor is irreparable damage.  If the "damage" or harm is truly repairable then the state should not step in even if what is perpetrated by the adult is "harmful" (indoctrination into a cult of some form perhaps falls into this category?).

If you consider what, in the application of that principle, this would distinguish as acceptable or unacceptable parenting. . .

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But it is about AZT and other antiretrovirals which is the whole reason they confiscated the boy so they could put him on the drugs:

We don't know the court proceedings, we only know that making no attempt to schedule a doctor appointment was *one* reason of probably many.

 

No, the antiretrovirals are not the reason - I'm going by what the articles you linked *say*. There is no mention that not giving the kid AZT and antiretrovirals is why the mother was taken to court.

 

"I don’t believe in appointing a doctor to make parenting decisions for someone who is in control of their faculties, like this mother."

That's begging the question - the court case is about whether or not she is even able to take care of a kid. We can't assume she was or is until we see court documents, which you and I will probably never see.

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We don't know the court proceedings, we only know that making no attempt to schedule a doctor appointment was *one* reason of probably many.

 

No, the antiretrovirals are not the reason - I'm going by what the articles you linked *say*. There is no mention that not giving the kid AZT and antiretrovirals is why the mother was taken to court.

 

"I don’t believe in appointing a doctor to make parenting decisions for someone who is in control of their faculties, like this mother."

That's begging the question - the court case is about whether or not she is even able to take care of a kid. We can't assume she was or is until we see court documents, which you and I will probably never see.

 

Going strictly by what the article says I see nothing about negligence or a question of whether she is able to take care of a child.  There is no information on that so I assume she is a normal rational person, just like I would assume with anyone else with no further cause.  The original petition only mentioned they missed two doctor’s appointments.  In and of itself that’s clearly not negligence and I guess we shouldn’t assume anything more than that.  So why did it happen then?  I have read more extensively about this family concerning when Lindsey herself was young and yes the reason the doctors petitions the court is people don’t want to put their kids on the drug, which is what almost happened so many years ago when she was on the drug and her parents took her off.  The parents claimed that not only did the doctor try to intimidate them but finally threatened to get the state involved, which the person apparently never followed through with since she stayed off the drugs.

 

Whether or not you believe the antiretrovirals are the bottom motivation of why she was taken to court the article clearly states that is why the boy is going to remain in custody, which I already quoted.

 

"Their statements that they wish to discontinue the antiretroviral medication and will continue to provide treatment only as long as it is legally required give the Court little choice but to retain jurisdiction in this matter to protect the child,” Wellmann wrote in his decision.“"

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Whether or not you believe the antiretrovirals are the bottom motivation of why she was taken to court the article clearly states that is why the boy is going to remain in custody, which I already quoted.

 

"Their statements that they wish to discontinue the antiretroviral medication and will continue to provide treatment only as long as it is legally required give the Court little choice but to retain jurisdiction in this matter to protect the child,” Wellmann wrote in his decision.“"

Ah, I misread this, and I read it several times even. =X

 

Fair enough, but I wonder if court documents/proceedings only focused on missed doctor appointments. My line of reasoning is based off if it is legitimate to say the mother is fundamentally a negligent parent. If she is not negligent, then I generally agree. But when it comes to a court of law, and when determining what is legitimate, the court should trust a medical expert who has received specific education. In general disagreeing with a doctor is insufficient to prove negligence, though the court must use experts at some point to make its decisions, otherwise you'd have legal experts making decisions medical experts should make.

 

There is certainly a point where ignoring a doctor is negligence. An example may be not giving a kid with diabetes insulin shots on the premise that insulin shots are inferior to a mystical psychic with healing powers, or even the premise that natural is better. In that case, I think legally requiring parents to give the insulin shots is appropriate. Now, is this case an example like that? I am not sure. Expert advice is needed by a court, yet at the same time, of course doctors are fallible, and sometimes parents may be paying better attention to symptoms than a doctor. Hopefully, the court demonstrated, objectively, that this mother was being negligent, so a medical expert is better in the meantime. It is legally appropriate to judge if a parent is negligent. If the court did not make a decision about the mother's parenting, and instead only focused on two missed appointments, then that would not be objective.

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Ah, I misread this, and I read it several times even. =X

 

Fair enough, but I wonder if court documents/proceedings only focused on missed doctor appointments. My line of reasoning is based off if it is legitimate to say the mother is fundamentally a negligent parent. If she is not negligent, then I generally agree. But when it comes to a court of law, and when determining what is legitimate, the court should trust a medical expert who has received specific education. In general disagreeing with a doctor is insufficient to prove negligence, though the court must use experts at some point to make its decisions, otherwise you'd have legal experts making decisions medical experts should make.

 

Yes, it would be wonderful if we could just trust medical experts but it just aint so in today's world.  Many scientists or doctors today are not valiant seekers of truth.  This is why i maintain we all must decide these things ourselves.  We don't have to question the physicists and other sciences if we don't want because they will have little direct effect on us.  Everyone will face medical decisions which they must make and need to educate themselves and decide for themselves because these are life altering.  There is no easy way of telling whether what a doctor prescribes is in your best interest.

 

 

There is certainly a point where ignoring a doctor is negligence. An example may be not giving a kid with diabetes insulin shots on the premise that insulin shots are inferior to a mystical psychic with healing powers, or even the premise that natural is better. In that case, I think legally requiring parents to give the insulin shots is appropriate. Now, is this case an example like that? I am not sure. Expert advice is needed by a court, yet at the same time, of course doctors are fallible, and sometimes parents may be paying better attention to symptoms than a doctor.

 

 

If a kid has type I diabetes, insulin can be demonstrated as a benign treatment, I think, to anyone’s satisfaction.  It is a natural hormone of the body, lacking in those individuals.  So it follows my principle of benign treatments only as long as the kid is taught to use it properly.  If he was type II diabetic I would just take him off the carbs and make him lose weight.

 

 

In the case of DNA chain terminators which prevent  cells from going through the cell cycle, thus,  damaging or destroying all tissues with actively dividing cells, or protease inhibitors which block certain necessary enzymes from functioning (of both the virus and the host), these are not natural molecules and obviously not benign drugs.   A child should only be given them if the parent is ok with it due to the potential of serious harm from them, which did happen to occur in this case with his life-threatening rash.

 

 

 

 

Hopefully, the court demonstrated, objectively, that this mother was being negligent, so a medical expert is better in the meantime. It is legally appropriate to judge if a parent is negligent. If the court did not make a decision about the mother's parenting, and instead only focused on two missed appointments, then that would not be objective.

 

 

I would not be surprised if it was the latter, seeing that the parents speak out publicly with their opinions about these drugs, including their story of taking their daughter off the drugs.  They have probably made themselve a conspicuous target in doing so.

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If a baby has HIV, and the parents refuse to allow treatment, that's not neglect? What do you think happens to a baby who has HIV that isn't treated?

 

No, the state shouldn't determine what's proper treatment to any ailment. This isn't about the state determining what's proper medical treatment.

The state should determine what constitutes abuse of parental rights. Any action that severely (or to the point of certain death) threatens the life or physical well being of a baby should qualify, irrespective of how and involving what field of human activity.

The evidence in this case is overwhelming:

1. transmission of HIV from mother to child is preventable, so the mother is guilty of infecting him to begin with;

2. untreated HIV in newborns is deadly, and fast;

Any Court faced with these facts has a fairly easy decision: protect the child, by removing him from the custody of the people responsible for his condition, who are about to kill him.

 

If a parent purposefully chooses not to treat their HIV-infected child, then no, it is not neglect. It is abusive, but not neglectful. I agree with you in that I cannot imagine a judge deciding that such a treatment could ever be considered proper. That being said, this is an extreme case, and there are certainly less extreme cases in which I wouldn't want the state or a "panel of experts" making narrow medical recommendations.

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If a parent purposefully chooses not to treat their HIV-infected child, then no, it is not neglect. It is abusive, but not neglectful. I agree with you in that I cannot imagine a judge deciding that such a treatment could ever be considered proper. That being said, this is an extreme case, and there are certainly less extreme cases in which I wouldn't want the state or a "panel of experts" making narrow medical recommendations.

 

HIV isn't a disease.  It is a microbe that may or may not cause a disease in a given person.  AIDS is a disease which the baby does not have.  To illustrate, his mother has had HIV since birth she has never had AIDS and thus has not been ill.  She was only ill when younger because she responded badly to the medication which isn't suprising seeing that she was a developing child (so all her cells are growing and thus being affected by the drug).  There are many reasons why a given person may have immune deficiency, which is defined as white blood cell counts below a certain level.  But clearly with such a long latent period between HIV infection and AIDS and with people like the mother living twenty years without treatment, it is complicated who will ultimately become sick.  It is up to the individual to decide if they want to take risky drugs now and possibly become sick and die or if they want to chance it with AIDS.  Like the article said the baby had to be taken off the medication due to a life-threatening rash.  Is it really abusive to not want to give toxic drugs to a baby who doesn't have a disease but only a microbe which may or may not lead to a disease?

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I never claimed Joseph Sonnabend was familiar with the case.  You asked me to name a single person who would disagree and I did.

No, I asked you to name a doctor or otherwise knowledgeable individual who DOES disagree. I didn't ask you to name someone you think would disagree. I asked for facts independent of your opinion.

And, again: Joseph Sonnabend is a South African physician who DID prescribe antiretroviral treatment to his patients. So he probably wouldn't disagree that this baby needs it.

Edited by Nicky

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Really, if Bioengine's relative training is a valid line of inquiry, then what's your own?

I have no medical training. I have never attempted to claim that I do. Bioengine is the one who claimed that he has relevant training. That's why I asked him to specify what kind of training it is.

Of course, you don't need medical training to know what HIV is, and why it requires treatment. You just need to be objective and honest. Bioengine is neither. His training is a lie, and his arguments are dishonest and fallacious.

By the way, where do you stand on this issue? Do you believe that the HIV virus is going to kill this baby if he isn't treated, or do you agree with Bioengine that the baby is going to be fine?

Edited by Nicky

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No, I asked you to name a doctor or otherwise knowledgeable individual who DOES disagree. I didn't ask you to name someone you think would disagree. I asked for facts independent of your opinion.

And, again: Joseph Sonnabend is a South African physician who DID prescribe antiretroviral treatment to his patients. So he probably wouldn't disagree that this baby needs it.

 

Apologies I mistook your meaning.  The fact is that Joseph Sonnabend always prescribed lower dose medication than what the consensus suggested.  I didn't make the claim he would say the baby didn't need the drugs, i distinctly stated he started out not prescribing them and then always gave lower dosage, implying he would probably give a lower dosage to this baby than a different doctor.  The family was in fact trying to get a second opinion when the child was taken.  You are the one who objected to "strawman".

 

 

I have no medical training. I have never attempted to claim that I do. Bioengine is the one who claimed that he has relevant training. That's why I asked him to specify what kind of training it is.

Of course, you don't need medical training to know what HIV is, and why it requires treatment. You just need to be objective and honest. Bioengine is neither. His training is a lie, and his arguments are dishonest and fallacious.

 

 

I agree, in that you don't need medical training to think for yourself on these issues, which is what the mother did.  I for one have not made up my mind entirely on these issues but I know what problems and controversies exist.  I don't claim to have the certaity on the subject that you have, i am presenting arguments which i haven't seen answered to my satisifaction.  I suppose it is easy to claim someone is not objective or honest, it is quite another thing to refute their arguments.  It is ironic you make this claim and then in the next sentence you make the claim that my training is a lie.  You are the one drawing a conclusion with no evidence.  I think the arguments you have presented stem more from intimidation or appeals to authority than anything. 

 

 

 

 

 do you agree with Bioengine that the baby is going to be fine?

 

Really, that is what I think?  I would call that a misrepresentation at the very least.  When did I say he would be fine?  Of course he may be fine or he may not whether he is on the drugs or off the drugs.  My argument is for the individual choice of the mother.  You are the one claiming certain knowledge about what will happen to him.

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Apologies I mistook your meaning.

Stop it. We've been at this for two days. All along, you've been claiming that there is a different medical opinion on how this baby should be treated and that the government saw fit to enforce one medical opinion over the other. And all along, I've been asking you to tell us who this second medical opinion is coming from. There's no misunderstanding here, there's just you constantly dodging direct questions and evading facts.

So, one last time: Are you still claiming that there is a doctor somewhere who agreed to treat this baby the way the parents would like him to be treated, and if so, who is it? Or are you conceding that the family is trying to deny medical care to an HIV positive baby?

The fact is that Joseph Sonnabend always prescribed lower dose medication than what the consensus suggested.  I didn't make the claim he would say the baby didn't need the drugs, i distinctly stated he started out not prescribing them and then always gave lower dosage, implying he would probably give a lower dosage to this baby than a different doctor.  The family was in fact trying to get a second opinion when the child was taken.

That's blatantly false. The family did nothing for 20 years, did nothing while the mother passed on the virus to her baby, and was not doing anything when the baby was finally taken. What they want is for the baby to not receive treatment, because they don't believe that the HIV virus is a threat to his health.

The closest they came was an out of state trip. But they turned around in the middle of it, never got to a second doctor.

Edited by Nicky

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If a kid has type I diabetes, insulin can be demonstrated as a benign treatment, I think, to anyone’s satisfaction.  It is a natural hormone of the body, lacking in those individuals.  So it follows my principle of benign treatments only as long as the kid is taught to use it properly.  If he was type II diabetic I would just take him off the carbs and make him lose weight.

Okay, but what if the parent thinks you are wrong and claims (as a non-expert) that insulin injections are only a net harm?

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By the way, where do you stand on this issue? Do you believe that the HIV virus is going to kill this baby if he isn't treated, or do you agree with Bioengine that the baby is going to be fine?

To be honest I haven't read the article about it.  I've been looking at the big picture; the principle of parental neglect and government intervention, as it applies to medicine.  (You'll notice that the majority of my posts have actually been focused on that, and perhaps the issue of who is authorized to decide scientific matters, to the exclusion of all else)  Accordingly I can't make an especially informed opinion on it.  However:

1.  I think that parents should be able to make such decisions for their children. . . Provided they base such decisions on scientific and objective information.

2.  HIV is bad for you.  Period.  The issue is whether the cure is worse than the disease, which Bioengine would claim and you would dispute.

So no, the baby isn't going to be fine; HIV is not something you can fix with Tylenol.  As to whether he would be better or worse off with the popularly-prescribed drugs. . . Like I said, I don't have enough information.

 

NOW.  Speaking as a parent, if I knew that my son had HIV, you couldn't make me miss a doctor's appointment with all of the guns is Alabama.  If I disagreed with the doctor I would argue with him, to his face, and I would probably have a hard time behaving rationally in general.

But I can't imagine anything that would make me stop taking him to the doctor, altogether.

So, whatever the effects of these drugs and whatever principles are involved, I think it's fairly obvious that the child's parents weren't fit to raise him.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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Also, if they did have an opportunity to reduce his likelihood of infection to 2% and failed to do so, I think that would speak volumes.

Yes, a woman has the right to do whatever she wants to with her own body.  That's why she has the right to abort, if she should become pregnant.

But if, rather than getting an abortion, some woman simply decides not to give up liquor (or to stop taking a drug which harms her), while that's her right, she shouldn't be upset when she isn't nominated for mom-of-the-year.

 

Parenthood comes with much pain and unpleasantry.  (see labor and delivery)  Those who have a problem with this shouldn't have kids.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold

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Stop it. We've been at this for two days. All along, you've been claiming that there is a different medical opinion on how this baby should be treated and that the government saw fit to enforce one medical opinion over the other. And all along, I've been asking you to tell us who this second medical opinion is coming from. There's no misunderstanding here, there's just you constantly dodging direct questions and evading facts.

 

 

I didn't realize that is what it boiled down to for you.  You have ignored all the statements about how the drugs are toxic and whether someone, even a baby, should be forced to take a toxic drug which destroys body tissue and upsets physiology--possibly coming with unknown consequences for a developing child--by law.  What if the government was wrong about a disease?  Do you think that has never happened?  Is the government or the doctor infallible?  If you thought they were wrong would you want them to take your child and give him toxic drugs?  Look up SMON, an incident that occured in Japan in which the government thought they had a neurological disease caused a microbe when they didn't.  Do I know or care whether there is a doctor who agrees with me on this philosophical position about whether the government should force toxic treatments on citizens?--No, that is an appeal to authority, and appeal to a degree.

 

 

 The family did nothing for 20 years, did nothing while the mother passed on the virus to her baby, and was not doing anything when the baby was finally taken. What they want is for the baby to not receive treatment, because they don't believe that the HIV virus is a threat to his health.

The closest they came was an out of state trip. But they turned around in the middle of it, never got to a second doctor.

 

Yes, did I deny that they didn't want to give the baby the drugs?  If anything they were probably looking for a doctor who would prescribe the lowest dosage because they had already been told he would be taken away if they didn't administer them.  I really don't remember what they believe about the HIV virus, what I do know is they believe the drugs are harmful, which they experienced for themselves.  As a young child she basically had a life of pain on the drugs.  Clearly to her and her family it is worth the risk of getting AIDS to not take those drugs.  So far it has worked out well for them, she doesn't have AIDS and didn't have to live with the side effects of the drugs.  Who is the state to decide what is worse for the child: excruciating pain and stunted development, having your immune system attacked by the drugs themselves (AZT), and getting an infection and dying or getting an infection from AIDS and dying?  Must I remind you again, the baby got a life-threatening rash from the drugs (life-threatening as in could have died).

 

 

 

Okay, but what if the parent thinks you are wrong and claims (as a non-expert) that insulin injections are only a net harm?

 

That depends on the evidence they bring with them.  For instance what were the symptoms the kid had?  Was he screaming in pain every day of his life, failing to develop, losing coordination?  Who is the state to enforce that on a child?

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Also, if they did have an opportunity to reduce his likelihood of infection to 2% and failed to do so, I think that would speak volumes.

Yes, a woman has the right to do whatever she wants to with her own body.  That's why she has the right to abort, if she should become pregnant.

But if, rather than getting an abortion, some woman simply decides not to give up liquor (or to stop taking a drug which harms her), while that's her right, she shouldn't be upset when she isn't nominated for mom-of-the-year.

 

Parenthood comes with much pain and unpleasantry.  (see labor and delivery)  Those who have a problem with this shouldn't have kids.

 

You would equate not giving up liquor with quitting a drug which is harmful to both you and your baby's development?  I think they are opposites.  She didn't want to take the drug because she thinks it's harmful to her baby.  If it was her right then why was the kid taken?

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You would equate not giving up liquor with quitting a drug which is harmful to both you and your baby's development?  I think they are opposites.  She didn't want to take the drug because she thinks it's harmful to her baby.  If it was her right then why was the kid taken?

Alright; if it was also hurting her baby then that's another matter.  I had inferred from one of Nicky's comments that it was for her own comfort.

 

And I think that someone's individual rights should be distinct from parental rights.  (parental obligations?)  There are certain things which everyone is perfectly entitled to do in most situations, but are unacceptable for them to do once they have a child.

And yes, if the drug was hurting her baby then what I equated it to was its opposite.

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Alright; if it was also hurting her baby then that's another matter.  I had inferred from one of Nicky's comments that it was for her own comfort.

 

And I think that someone's individual rights should be distinct from parental rights.  (parental obligations?)  There are certain things which everyone is perfectly entitled to do in most situations, but are unacceptable for them to do once they have a child.

And yes, if the drug was hurting her baby then what I equated it to was its opposite.

 

It may hurt the baby or it may not.  AZT is a carcinogen which prevents cells from proliferating.  In an embryo the cells are proliferating to develop the child.  In a previous post I stated that drugs of this kind are risky drugs.  The individual decides if the trade off is worth it.  There are some scientists who believe pregnant women should never be exposed to carcinogens.

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