Pubdate: Fri, 06 Sep 2019
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2019 The New York Times Company
Author: Lynn M. Paltrow


"New Warning Against Use of Marijuana for 2 Groups" (news article,
Aug. 30) is reminiscent of coverage of pregnant women and cocaine use
that reported damage theories that were alarmist.

Critical examination would reveal that the surgeon general's advisory
focuses on associations and unspecified "risks." There's an enormous
difference between things that pose potential risks, which are
virtually everything a woman does, ingests or is exposed to during the
course of pregnancy, and actual harm to the pregnant woman and fetus.

Moreover, it is impossible to say that the vast majority of drugs and
medications pregnant women take are safe because pregnant women are
largely excluded from research studies.

Finally, being pregnant already makes many women in the United States
targets for violations of medical privacy, arrest, detention, forced
treatment and family separation. Sadly, the surgeon general's alarmist
and medically misleading advisory targeting pregnant women makes
punitive responses far more likely than compassionate, science-based
health care.

Lynn M. Paltrow
New York

The writer is executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant
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