OUTRAGE: Illinois Bill Removes Mandate to Report Positive Drug Tests of Newborns to Law Enforcement

AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley

Outrage indeed.

In a stark reminder that the Democrat Party is more than willing to abandon even the most basic of moral decencies in its efforts to protect the outrageous, the Illinois state legislature is poised to send a bill to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) that removes a mandate that the Department of Children and Family Services must report newborn babies’ positive drug tests to law enforcement. Pritzker is expected to sign the bill.


Senate Bill 3136 will, according to opponents, disincentivize drug addicts from getting clean because it removes punitive provisions that take away birth mothers’ parental rights if a newborn baby’s toxicology screen is positive.

Republican state Senator Steve McClure said the bill, if (when) signed into law, will deter drug addicts from seeking treatment.

These are tools not to punish mom, but these are tools for the best interest of these children. This [punitive provision] is to help mom and motivate mom to get better. I am sure everyone has heard of a child born with substance exposure, [and] horrible health issues have arisen.

The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin, said she introduced the legislation because numerous studies have shown that women who suffer from substance abuse avoid care because of concerns that healthcare providers will report them to enforcement authorities.

This bill will incentivize pregnant women who have substance-use disorders to seek out not only prenatal care but also seek out and stay in treatment recovery programs. We do this by lifting two punitive policies negatively affecting families with substance-use disorders.


The measure amends state law to remove positive toxicology at birth as a basis for finding unfitness for the purpose of terminating parental rights and removes a provision from state law that requires the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to immediately report positive drug screens to law enforcement.

In other words, Castro and her Democrat colleagues have no problem with sending a drug-positive newborn home with his or her drug-abusing mother, and likely to a home environment that provides further risk to the health and safety of the child. That is an outrage.

Castro, of course, disagrees:

It will not impact the court’s ability to act when a child is being abused or neglected. If the child’s care or environment is unsafe, the court may find the child is neglected based on the remaining provisions of the Juvenile Court Act.

We're talking about drug-addicted and drug-exposed newborns. What "remaining provisions" should matter more?

Republican state Sen. Chapin Rose said the legislation isn’t about pregnant drug-abusing mothers in fear of seeking prenatal care because the only time authorities are alerted is when the baby is born with narcotics in his or her system. 


If that baby has been born with narcotics in their system and is addicted to drugs, the system should be activated. The system should be alerted because we as a society, it’s our job to protect that child … end of story.

Not only common sense; it's common moral decency, as well.

The Bottom Line

Yes, Senator Rose, it should be the end of the story, but on the moral decline of the left, the protection of innocent children — including the unborn —continues to slide further down the list of priorities.


The System and Society That Is Failing Our Most Vulnerable


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos