A New York judge is under fire after she ordered a former prostitute and mother of four in late December not to get pregnant until she could regain custody of her infant son, who was born addicted to drugs and taken from her care because of neglect.
Family Court Judge Patricia Gallaher wrote that the order is meant to benefit the mother by increasing her chances of rehabilitation and getting her son back. The judge believes another baby will decrease the woman’s chances of success. She thinks that more orders like this should be made to make a change in societal patterns.
— NY Daily Record (@NYDailyRecord) January 13, 2017
“Society and its problems are changing, especially with the incredible rise in the use of heroin, and this court needs to adjust in response instead of doing the same tired routine which does not solve the obvious problems in so many cases.”
The order said that the woman’s baby was born prematurely, “and exhibited signs of withdrawal almost immediately after his birth.” The mother admitted to using drugs such as crack cocaine, methadone and alcohol while pregnant.
All of the woman’s children are being raised by other people, and two of her previous children were also born addicted to drugs. They were taken from her in 2011 and 2014.
Her 16-year-old son was removed from her care after having access to a hypodermic needle. He has been living with his maternal grandmother since 2007, as reported by the Democrat & Chronicle.
The mother also admitted to working as a prostitute.
The judge ordered the Department of Human Services to cover the birth control expenses. She says that this case is “exactly the kind of case where the respondent neglectful mother should be using birth control.”
The judge’s order has sparked outrage among those who believe it violates human rights. The New York Civil Liberties Union could possibly be getting involved in the case, and assisting with an appeal. KaeLyn Rich, director of the Genesee Valley chapter of the NYCLU, blasted the judge for overreaching boundaries.
“When it comes to interpreting here, we don’t want to set a precedent that the court has the authority to tell a woman not to get pregnant or a man not to procreate.”
The judge believes that her ruling is no different than ordering parenting classes or rehabilitation.
“Having no more pregnancies should be ordered like the drug treatment, mental health treatment and parenting classes provisions which are boilerplate now.”
[Feature Photo: NY State Courts]