DEATH * BY * METH

This is dedicated to Travis Holappa who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered on July 25, 2004 in Northern Minnesota. This was all due to meth. I am Travis' mother and I wish to make this devastation turn into a better thing by educating and exposing the truth about meth, the dangers, and the deadly consequences it brings about to individuals and communities.

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Location: Colorado, United States

I want to do what I can to educate people about what is going on around the world with the meth problem. I want people to know about it BEFORE they even get the idea to want to try it. It is a dangerous drug and will ruin your life as well as all those who love you. I am on a mission on behalf of my only son, Travis.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Abortion issue rivals oppose fetal death bill (Wisconsin)

http://www.madison.com/tct/mad/topstories/index.php?ntid=72227&ntpid=1
But their reasons are different
By Judith Davidoff

In a rare alliance, Planned Parenthood and Wisconsin Right to Life are fighting a Republican bill that would lead to prison terms for women who take illegal drugs that result in the death of a fetus.


But while the two groups are united in their opposition to the bill sponsored by Rep. Mark Pettis, R-Hertel, they offer very different reasons for doing so.

Pettis says the bill, AB 994, is needed because of the widespread abuse of methamphetamine, which he calls "a scourge on society."

Pettis' bill would subject a woman who is knowingly pregnant to prosecution if she uses an illegal drug such as meth and it results in the death of the baby, he said.

If charged under the state's fetal homicide bill, a woman could receive a maximum sentence of life in prison for murder, or 15 years in confinement if convicted of second-degree reckless homicide.

Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, said her group opposes the proposal because it would, among other things, encourage women to have abortions.

"We feel a woman would go to an abortion clinic rather than seek treatment," she said.

Lyons said the proposal would also jeopardize the state's fetal homicide law because it does not deal equally with such other potentially harmful substances as alcohol.

On the other hand, Chris Taylor, political director of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, says the bill would also subject any woman who produces a fertilized egg - but who might not yet even be pregnant - to drug trafficking charges if she takes a controlled substance.

"This bill is so broad that virtually any woman having sex could be charged with a variety of crimes," she told members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, which held a hearing on the bill Thursday.

Taylor said this "dangerous and ridiculous" bill would threaten, rather than enhance, maternal and fetal health.

"This bill punishes pregnant woman who are addicted to controlled substances, rather than facilitating the help and prenatal care they need," she added.

The only group supporting the measure is Pro-Life Wisconsin, which, like Wisconsin Right to Life, is anti-abortion, though it often takes a more restrictive approach to such issues as contraception.

"The argument that the bill would somehow encourage abortions is specious," Matt Sande, legislative affairs director for Pro-Life Wisconsin, told the Judiciary Committee.

"Permitting an evil to prevent an evil is illogical and immoral. Whether a child is aborted by a physician using surgical instruments or by a mother ingesting crystal meth, the end result is the same: a dead baby."

Pettis said a recent incident in his district brought the issue to the fore.

He said a pregnant woman in Burnett County gave premature birth after using meth at a party. The child was born with severe complications and did not survive.

Pettis said the District Attorney's Office was not able to pursue charges against the woman because no laws had been broken.

Pettis said his bill would deter drug use among pregnant woman.

"I think she will be rushing to treatment centers and doing everything she can to get off drugs because she knows if the baby is born dead, she could be prosecuted," he said.

But Dr. Francine Feinberg, who has spent more than 20 years running a drug treatment center for women in Milwaukee, said that won't happen.

"That data do not support that at all," said Feinberg, executive director of Meta House. "He's making a logical argument but logic doesn't apply here. That is not what happens."

Feinberg said that the fear of incarceration drives addicted pregnant women from prenatal care and keeps them from seeking treatment. If they are in treatment, they walk out, Feinberg said.

"If our goal is what we say it is - to have healthy moms deliver healthy babies - you want legislation that encourages women by not being punitive to seek that kind of help. They need to know they can go to doctors and not be turned in. They need to know we can offer them a safe respite."

E-mail: jdavidoff@madison.com
Published: February 10, 2006

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