The featured photo is of a cake I baked in 1993 for my boss at the time. I was the cook at a Presbyterian church camp and there was a nasty stomach bug that came through and made a lot of us sick, including the camp director, whose birthday it happened to be. I decided to bake the cake in honor of the virus– it says “Hurling into #33”. And yes, it was a huge hit! Presbyterians, mostly being very Scottish in origin, usually do not lack an appreciation for ribald humor.
For some reason, this morning I found myself singing “MacArthur Park”, a song that was written by the great songwriter Jimmy Webb. I am most familiar with Donna Summer’s version of that song, since I was a youngster when it was popular. But, in the course of reading up on “MacArthur Park”, I learned that it was actually written in the late 1960s and has been covered by a lot of different artists… including Waylon Jennings, of all people!
I am a big fan of Jimmy Webb’s music. He’s written some really beautiful songs. I didn’t know anything about his personal life before this morning, when I read about his first wife, Patsy Sullivan, whom he met when she was twelve and he was 22 years old. They appeared together on a cover of ‘Teen magazine. The next year, they started a relationship and married in 1974, when their son, Christaan, was 17 months old. Patsy was just 16 years old when she had him. She had five more children with Webb before they split in 1996. When he published his memoir in 2017, he left Patsy out of it and reportedly didn’t mention their son, Christaan. I’m not sure why he did that, since it’s not like it wasn’t known that they were married and had children. Anyway, Webb is remarried as of 2004, having wed his wife, Laura Savini.
Sometimes I think it’s better not to know too much about the people you admire. I’m not sure I approve of Webb’s relationship with the very young Patsy in the 1970s… but I guess it was considered a different time. Webb was also using a lot of substances– drugs and alcohol– and has since given them up. I still think it’s shitty that he’s denied his first marriage in his memoir. Seems pretty fucked up to me.
I have funny memories of “MacArthur Park.” Although I had heard it many times when I was growing up, I never paid much attention to the lyrics. It wasn’t until I went to college that I heard the line about the cake in the rain. My old friend– brother from another mother, Chris Jones– was going around singing it badly. “Someone left my CAKE out in the RAIN…” Chris can’t sing under the best of circumstances, but he’s also a natural comedian, so his version of that song was hilarious. I remember saying to him, though… “are you sure those are the right words?” Or maybe I just thought he’d made them up, as we were both likely to do in those days (and in my case, today).
Chris assured me that the song, as ridiculous as it was, was actually written with those lyrics.
Today, I read that the lyrics by Jimmy Webb were based on actual things that he saw as he and his friend/girlfriend were breaking up in view of MacArthur Park in California. Someone actually HAD left a cake out in the rain. The mind boggles at the backstory potential. What happened? Was someone’s birthday party rained out? Did a romantic date go badly? Did some people run off and leave the cake because they’d rather stay dry than save their sweet treat? Who knows… but what a weird visual. I guess the truth really is stranger than fiction.
I still like Jimmy Webb’s music and respect his immense talents. I suspect he didn’t want to address his first wife’s age because he’s a “different person” now. Actually, I’d say that if you aren’t willing to own up to the past, maybe you haven’t changed that much, after all… I’m sure his life story is still interesting, even though he omitted a big, major chunk of it from his memoir. I haven’t read the book, but I can see from Amazon reviews that a lot of people didn’t think it was very good. They claim he name drops a lot and is apparently a “moral midget” who has affairs with married women. I dunno… Maybe I’ll read it so I can decide what I think of it. If I do read it, it won’t be for awhile. I have a bunch of books to read right now and only so many conscious hours.
And there are many, many other versions of this song, as well as other songs Jimmy wrote that are fantastic. I’ll just try to focus on those.
And now I’m reposting this article that appeared on my original Blogspot version of The Overeducated Housewife on December 23, 2018. It’s a follow up to the previous repost– a rant about people who misspell HIPAA and insist that it’s actually spelled HIPPA (wrong). Again, this is mostly as/is, and all info was current as of 2018, not 2023.
Apologies to all. I’m going to continue yesterday’s rant a little bit. I know it’s petty. I know a lot of people don’t care, and are more concerned that we get the “gist” of what people are referring to when they write “HIPPA” instead of “HIPAA”. Frankly, I take a different view. Knowledge is power. I hate to toss around trite sayings, even those created by great authors like the late Dr. Maya Angelou. But she was right when she said this:
I don’t tend to use this quote much myself, mainly because the original wording has become bastardized into something that sounds kind of self-righteous and condescending. Often, people who use this quote say or write something like this:
The point is, while I don’t generally like telling people to “educate themselves” and don’t want to sound condescending and self-righteous, sometimes I feel compelled to advise other people to “do better”. And that is what happened right after I opened my eyes this morning.
Those of you who read yesterday’s post may remember my admittedly long-winded rant about how many people on the Life is not all pickles and hairspray Facebook page repeatedly misspelled the acronym, HIPAA, as they each declared their expertise about this law. I got to the point at which I felt like I had to be “that person”, and I posted this:
It’s HIPAA, not HIPPA. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
Although I knew very well that I was right about the way the acronym is correctly spelled, I did take the time to look it up, just to be sure. It’s embarrassing when you try to correct someone and turn out to be wrong yourself. I have done that before and learned from the experience. When you have Google at your fingertips and a quick Web search takes a matter of seconds, it really pays to double check. I also knew that my comment would annoy some people, so I wanted to be prepared for that. People don’t like it when you correct them.
Not surprisingly, there were others, like me, who had been suffering in silence. At this writing, at least nine people “liked” that I posted the correction. One person even went as far as to thank the first person (not me) who had correctly spelled the acronym, though didn’t call it out that people were getting it wrong.
Also not surprisingly, I got one “who cares” response and another that claimed I was wrong. The “who cares” response came from the page owner. Frankly, I found her attitude disappointing, especially since members of the press follow her page.
Whatever, most of us know what it means. That’s the important thing.
I strongly disagree with this mindset, by the way. There are good reasons for the concepts of “correct” and “incorrect”. Words have meaning, and when you change words, you change meaning. It can be as simple as conveying a different mood than was intended, or as serious as completely changing the message imparted. See the above Maya Angelou quote for an example on that concept.
But then, someone who obviously did not take a second to look it up, posted this:
Maybe my being irked about this makes me anal retentive. We all have reasons for being the way we are. I am compulsive about words (and a number of other things, but that’s beside the point).
On the other hand, it’s irksome when someone tells me I’m wrong when I know I’m right. Not only did I know I was right before I posted, I actually took the time to look it up before I commented. And with just a quick Web search, the commenter insisting that “HIPPA” is correct could have spared me from feeling the need to insist that I’m right, and advising them to look it up. I don’t enjoy looking anal retentive and holier than thou, and yet, I couldn’t bring myself to let this slide.
I can see why commenting on this makes me look picky and annoying. But then, I find it annoying when people claim to be knowledgeable about something, yet don’t even get the terminology right. Especially when all they have to do to verify is a quick check on an official Web site, like the one run by the Department of Health and Human Services. Am I less entitled to be annoyed than the next person? I don’t think so.
I also think that the whole HIPAA argument, as it pertains to John David Duggar’s potential hospitalization, is mostly irrelevant. The fact is, the people involved in John David’s medical care are beholden to HIPAA. Friends and relatives who might spill the beans about his alleged hospitalization are not. Either way, I personally don’t really care if he was in the hospital. If he was, and the show’s producers and/or Boob want the public to know about it, it will probably come out in a forthcoming episode of the super boring show, Counting On, or it will be covered by People magazine.
I know it’s just Facebook. I know I probably need professional help, or at least a life. I just felt like I needed to get this off my chest. Thank you for indulging me, and, for the love of GOD– look it up!
And here are the original comments from that piece in 2018:
AlexisARDecember 23, 2018 at 9:24 AM It’s a good strategy to look something up before correcting someone whenever it is practical to do so. Anyone’s memory can have a brief malfunction. Looking it up first saves a person the indignity of looking very silly.
Sometimes when one is working in a group setting, as in for presentations, someone in the group is insistent upon spelling a word incorrectly when doing so would make everyone in the group [and not just the person who insisted upon the incorrect spelling] appear ignorant. Most of us have phones with Internet access on us almost all the time now, so it’s not so hard to do. A lady in the city where I lived from the ages of nine until sixteen still hates my mom because my mom insisted that “potato” did noy have an “e” on the end (the lady was apparently plenty old enough that she should have remembered the Dan Quayle debacle, which even I know about, and it happened before I was born) when they were creating posters for a PTA-sponsored event. I wasn’t a big fan of Dan Quayle after the fact, but that particular fiasco was the fault of whatever teacher incorrectly spelled “potato” on the list of words to be used for the spelling bee.
I find it somewhat outrageous that anyone would claim expert status or expertise concerning a set of regulations commonly referred to with an acronym when said person knew neither the correct spelling nor the words represented by the letters of the acronym. The fact that these people are citing laws that are likely irrelevant to the disclosure of John David Duggar’s recent hospitalization lends further credence to the idea that the HIPAA/HIPPA “experts” aren’t quite so knowledgeable as they claim to be.
Misspelling an acronym that is the subject of a debate is not the same as committing a typographical error when typing the word “because” in the same argument. I think the point went over Pickles’ head.
Thomas WikmanDecember 23, 2018 at 12:20 PM There is nothing wrong with correcting people’s mistakes, especially if they insist that you are wrong. I don’t mind it. People who mind need to learn to take corrections the right way anyway (humbly and appreciative).
knottyDecember 23, 2018 at 2:53 PM Right. I would rather be corrected than keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
dleDecember 23, 2018 at 2:19 PMOh, I am with you 100% on this. People can think I’m a nitpicker all they want, but the seemingly small details matter. And if people can’t get the small things right, that really makes me inclined to question anything else they have to say. I am so tired of hearing people refer to the FAFSA form for college aid by calling it the FASFA. And there is an animal shelter in my area called SICSA (Society for Improvement of Conditions for Stray Animals), yet most people call it SISCA….geez people!!
knottyDecember 23, 2018 at 2:54 PM Yeah… you’d think they could get five little letters right, especially when they are claiming to be an authority.
Good morning, y’all. I’m feeling pretty decent today, because last night, I made the final payment on our cruise. We got a big tax refund this year, so as soon as the charge hits my credit card, I’m going to be able to pay off the debt. Meanwhile, I think we’re pretty close to making the final plans for our big June vacation. I have a feeling it’s going to be an unforgettable trip, full of beauty, seafood, and new experiences.
I hadn’t wanted to go on a cruise. I was actually wanting to do more of a land trip. But, as Bill and I are both in our fifties, the days of us being willing to lug our stuff around to multiple destinations are pretty much over. The cruise I signed us up for last week was just too perfect, as it hit a lot of places we’d been wanting to visit again, or for the first time. Yes, it’s costing a bundle, but I think it’ll be well worth it. I’ve found that you have to enjoy these chances to travel when you can.
I’m not complaining, by the way. I feel very fortunate that we can go on a trip and pay for it in a reasonable amount of time. I’m grateful that Bill has a good job in a safe country that we both love. I’m especially glad I don’t currently live in a military stairwell apartment… and never have had to live in one. I know that, on the whole, I don’t enjoy apartment living. I also know that a lot of American military families who get moved abroad have to live on military installations. And that pretty much means living in an apartment for three years.
As anyone who has ever lived in an apartment can attest to, communal style living often means pitching in to keep the common areas clean. In Germany, this is a pretty normal thing. People who live in multi-family apartments take turns sweeping and mopping the stairwells, for instance. In the United States, a lot of apartment communities hire janitors to do that work. But, here in Germany– at least in the Stuttgart area– American residents of the military stairwells have been expected to do the job. That will change come May 1, when all residential buildings across the Stuttgart U.S. military garrison will have contracted stairwell cleaning.
You’d think this would be good news, right? I know if I were living in a stairwell apartment, I’d be all for it. In a perfect world, people would be cheerfully volunteering to give up some of their free time to keep common areas clean. However, we don’t live in a perfect world. Because people have varying levels of civic mindedness, keeping the stairwells clean simply doesn’t happen. What does happen is that the stairwells get cleaned by one or two responsible or “clean freak” families, they get cleaned in a half-assed manner, or they don’t get cleaned at all, and quickly become really gross.
Even though it seems clearly necessary to hire help to clean the common areas of the stairwells, some people aren’t very happy about this announcement. Below are a few negative comments and complaints people have made on Facebook about this development:
Respectfully, can we use this funding to make better parking complexes on Patch and Kelly instead? That is where the majority of the problems lie in my opinion.
If the announcement has been made, the money has already been spent. So no, they won’t be using that funding for anything other than cleaning the stairwells. The money wasn’t budgeted for parking. It was budgeted for housekeeping. Posting this comment on Facebook isn’t going to change anything regarding the stairwell cleaning decision. I would suggest finding the proper channel to formally make this request. Maybe in ten years or so, it will be acted upon.
Was it really that hard to get together as a community and keep the stairwells clean that we had to pay someone else to clean up after us?
Apparently, yes, it was. People work hard at their jobs. They have children to take care of. Free time is limited. Some people are messier than others are, and most people have their own standards of what is considered “clean”. Why complain that the garrison is finally taking action, while shaming everyone else in the community for not “coming together”? Have you, personally, done something to inspire other people to do their parts, as you’ve (hopefully) been doing yours? If you haven’t, you probably ought to take a look at yourself before pointing fingers.
I like the below response, as it sums things up nicely.
Have you seen the state of the stairwells/playgrounds/any common area on base? A couple responsible families across the garrison who do their part cleaning their little sections cannot compensate for the vast majority who do not. As frustrating as it is that funds have to be used for this purpose — because folks are not responsible enough to clean up after themselves — I wholeheartedly welcome it.
The bolded part especially highlights why this decision had to be made. Not everyone is willing or able to do their parts to keep the common areas safe, clean, and hygienic, and obviously those who don’t clean aren’t being sanctioned. So yes, funds need to be used for that purpose.
…smh what’s next someone that cleans after ppls dogs? House cleaning services? Lazyness should not be encouraged… But that’s just my opinion… Other things would be way more important.
I don’t think that forcing everyone to live in filth as a means of “discouraging laziness” is a good solution to this problem. Truly lazy people won’t notice or care, while those who aren’t “lazy” will suffer lower morale. It’s not fair that some people are willing to clean and others aren’t, especially when people who live in the stairwells are mostly being forced to live there. As to the rest of the comment regarding house cleaning or cleaning up after people’s dogs, don’t be ridiculous.
I’ve seen some nasty stairwells that I barely want to walk in
And others that are clean and decorated….. sad they have to pay someone but at least it’s gonna be clean for everyone.
Why is it “sad” that people will have jobs, and the necessary work will get done so that the stairwells aren’t so gross? I think this is a win/win. And I’ll bet those who are complaining about this aren’t going to keep cleaning out of principle, are they? If they ever did clean in the first place, that is…
Probably costly from a taxpayer’s point of view. However, we lived on Kelley. Keeping the stairwells clean was a constant battle. I think I would have been grateful for the upkeep.
Costly only in terms of money, which was earmarked for this purpose, anyway. In terms of health, morale, and safety, it’s a small price to pay.
How about a parking garage on each base?
Facebook isn’t the place to make this suggestion. The decision has been made and the money has been spent. Next!
Remember when we found human excrement in the basement Nick..that coupled with neighbours from hell! So happy we’re off base now!!!!
Yup! This scenario is EXACTLY why someone professional needs to be doing that job. It’s sad that fellow Americans behave in such a way, but as long as they do, someone should definitely be PAID to deal with that mess. No one should have to clean up another person’s dump, unless it’s parents cleaning up after their child or something…
Those of you reading this might wonder why I even care about this issue. I don’t live in a stairwell apartment, and I’m definitely not a neat freak myself. And, like some have pointed out, keeping the common areas clean is expected in our host country. If American military folks were living in apartments among Germans, it would be a no brainer that they’d be taking turns cleaning, especially in Swabia (Stuttgart). Or, barring that, they’d be paying someone to do the cleaning for them.
I think my interest in this subject comes from following RfM (www.exmormon.org) for so many years, and reading about what happened when church leaders decided to stop paying for janitorial services.
I have never been LDS myself, but Bill was a Mormon for awhile. And, for awhile, the church affected our marriage somewhat, as Bill’s daughters are members. I used to read RfM pretty compulsively, and one topic that frequently came up was how completely nasty and unhygienic church buildings became when the janitors were sacked. Church leaders had said that it was a form of service to the Lord (not to mention cheaper for the leadership) for members to clean the churches themselves. Even though the church is very demanding with lots of activities and “callings”, families were expected to give up their precious Saturdays and come in to clean the meetinghouses. Some people were very willing to do that and faithfully did their parts. Other people weren’t, and neglected to show up and pitch in. The end result frequently turned out to be gross buildings that weren’t very pleasant to visit on Sundays (and other days).
Consider that, just like a lot of military families, church families were busy and had lots of little ones to take care of. Consider that aside from working all week at a job, Saturdays were often full of chores that needed to be done in the home, as Sundays were for worship. Asking members to clean the church buildings means asking them to give up their free time to do a job that would be better done by someone who is paid to do it. Someone who is paid to do the cleaning is likely to do a better job; it will get done regularly; and, if they are church members, it means they can tithe. Of course, it also means that someone has a job and can also pay their own bills!
I will never understand why so many people, especially those who claim to be conservatives and bristle against people daring to be on the public dole, would lament about a paid job being created for someone who needs one. We want and expect people to work, don’t we? So why not pay them to do a job no one else wants to do? That way, they can chip in on taxes, right? It just seems like so many people harp on how everyone should work for a living, but then when a job is created, they complain about spending the money and lament about personal responsibility.
This issue doesn’t affect me personally, of course. It’s just puzzling to me that people would be up in arms about better janitorial services and grounds management. Who wants to spend their free time unpaid, cleaning up other people’s messes? Yes, we absolutely should all clean up after ourselves when we make messes. That’s the decent thing to do. But everybody has a different standard for what is considered “clean”, and some people either don’t have time to clean properly or just don’t care. And some people will feel compelled to clean, as they also resent the hell out of those who can’t be bothered to do routine cleaning. It’s better that people are paid to do that job.
Anyway… reading that thread reminds me of why I’m glad we live in Wiesbaden, and I never bothered to join a lot of Facebook groups up here. That’s another reason to be grateful.
I hope that people in Stuttgart will be grateful for their soon to be cleaner stairwell apartments… and if they were the ones actually doing their parts to keep the common areas clean, they’ll enjoy a little extra free time to spend with their families.
I’m reposting this entry from my original blog dated October 15, 2014. Ernest Angley has since died, and I’m leaving this as/is, because I don’t feel like editing it today. It’s being reposted because it was a very popular post, and I want to keep it for posterity.
If you read this blog on a regular basis, you know that I like to watch religious television programming sometimes. It’s not because my soul needs saving. I just find it hilarious. Now that I’m in Germany again and have no access to the religious channels that plague most American satellite and cable systems, I’ve gotten away from watching TBN and the BYU channel. I can, however, still watch Ernest Angley, because his show is on the Internet and available everywhere.
To be honest, I find Angley a pretty dull speaker and his toupee is annoying. I watch his show because of the shitty musicians. I mean, they aren’t bad musicians in terms of their skill. It’s just that the music is so corny and lame. It’s mostly country and bluegrass flavored and apparently written in house, no doubt so that Angely’s ministry doesn’t have to pay anyone royalties. The songs are often kind of graphic, with lyrics about being “washed in the blood of Jesus”, as if Jesus Christ’s blood was some kind of heavy duty soul detergent. Angley’s ministry is extremely protective of its “intellectual property” (and I use that term very loosely). You’ll never find any critical videos of Angley on YouTube because they get copyright claimed at the drop of a hat. But you can watch it on the Internet and cringe like I do.
Until yesterday, I mostly thought of this “ministry” as kind of cornball and stupid. But then a Facebook friend posted an article about a huge scandal erupting at Angley’s Cuyahoga Falls church in Ohio. The article my friend posted was a rather slanted blog type thing, so I decided to go to the article it was based upon, one in a series on Angley’s Grace Cathedral ministry posted in Akron’s Beacon Journal. Reporter Bob Dyer interviewed a number of people who had left the church, including a former pastor named Brock Miller who left the ministry on July 4th. Miller contends that for seven years, Angley “violated” him by being sexually inappropriate. Angley claims he was giving the man a “special anointing”.
Apparently, people who leave Angley’s church are shunned and criticized by name during worship services. Mr. Miller is being accused of being a drug addict and liar by Angley’s associate pastor, Chris Machamer, who is a star of every telecast as a “guest host”. I can barely stand to listen to Machamer speak because he’s so fake and plastic and has no charisma. Angley himself claims that Miller is an adulterer. Machamer claims that Miller just wants to take over the church once Angley finally kicks the bucket.
I don’t know what the whole truth is, but there are enough stories by people claiming that Angley was doing bad stuff that I tend to believe the good televangelist and his henchmen are simply engaging in character assassination and trying to discredit the victims by claiming that they have serious character flaws. Miller reportedly didn’t initiate this expose of Grace Cathedral and its apparently toxic environment. In fact, Bob Dyer writes that Miller repeatedly refused interview requests and had nothing to gain by accusing Angley of being highly inappropriate. Think about it. You’re a man who believes in God and has been taught to keep your dirty laundry out of sight. Why would a guy like Miller want to speak publicly about allowing another man to examine his genitals, especially if he’s a conservative Christian? I’m guessing that Mr. Miller is pretty humiliated by all of this, but finally felt he had to do something to preserve his dignity. Indeed, Miller emphasizes that he’s not accusing Angley of homosexual behavior, but of “violating” him.
Because Miller lived in church owned housing, after he went public with his story, he and his wife had to move. Miller and his wife were both homeschooled and neither got education beyond that. They don’t have jobs or qualifications to work elsewhere. Now they are living with another family member and this very embarrassing and personal news is being broadcast worldwide. I think Brock Miller was brave to speak out. It would have been easy to just wait it out until Angley finally croaks, but he couldn’t take it anymore. And good on him. He shined a light on his abuser. Indeed, he’s not the first to say something. Here’s another person’s account of what it was like to be raised in Angley’s “church” for 12 years.
I can only guess that a lot of musicians attend Angley’s church because he likely gives them work. Jobs for musicians can be hard to find and churches can be good places to find steady, gainful employment. Angley gives these folks plenty to do, too. There’s one guy who plays in the Gospel Five– good looking guy– who was probably a band geek in high school. He plays drums and saxophone and sings pretty well, better than most of the other guys singing with him. There’s a good looking bass guitar player who can’t sing very well, but plays his bass in the cornball rockabilly style Angley seems to favor.
I notice some nepotism, too. Chris Machamer’s relative (I assume she’s his wife, but I don’t know for certain), Maria, is a singer, She’s very small and meek looking and seems to try hard to sound like Alison Krauss. And I believe another relative is also involved in the church. I’ve seen her on camera talking about fundraising for “missions”.
Angelia Oborne, a woman who was a member of the church with her husband, claims that Angley encouraged followers to have abortions and vasectomies. My heart goes out to Oborne, since she and her husband can’t have kids. He had a vasectomy at Angley’s urging and now she’s 35 and doesn’t think she can conceive. Since my husband also had a vasectomy and it was later reversed, I understand her sorrow. My husband’s reversal was done for free and I was 31 years old at the time. We didn’t conceive, and I was sad about it for awhile. Now that I’m older, it matters less. But she’s still young enough and it is heartbreaking that they made this poor decision while under the influence of cult thinking. And now they have to live with the consequences for the rest of their lives. Angley claims the world is going to hell, so his followers are encouraged to avoid having children. ETA: In 2023, two links from the original post no longer work. I have unlinked them.
I will be watching for updates on this story. Seems like sooner or later, these televangelists get exposed somehow. This has been a long time coming. ETA: Indeed, there was more to the story, which I posted about later. I will probably repost my comments about the scandal later.
Since I don’t really feel like typing any significant fresh content today, I’m going to repost this blog entry from the original Blogspot OH. This post appeared April 19, 2015. It’s been retitled and edited somewhat, because there was dated and irrelevant content in the original post.
Last night, I shared this photo, which randomly popped up on my Facebook feed. A woman I knew in school had posted it with the comment “You’ve been warned. No excuses.” I knew the photo would generate discussion, and it did. Most of my friends were horrified by the photo, although “Papa Smurf” was a notable and predictable outlier. [Papa Smurf is a former friend now… he was a mansplaining pain in my ass one too many times, and I finally advised him to fuck off. I call him Papa Smurf because he was very sanctimonious and enjoyed trying to act like everybody’s daddy.]
I understand the idea behind this sign and I comprehend why a lot of people are behind its sentiment. However, while I get why people agree with it, I think it’s counterproductive to threaten patients before they’ve even been seen. All a sign like this does is tell the pregnant mom who might be using drugs that the doctor would prefer them to go somewhere else for their prenatal care. Indeed, that could be why the sign was posted. OB-GYNs typically pay a lot in malpractice insurance, and a pregnant person with drug issues could potentially have a riskier pregnancy. Of course, a drug abusing mom who is really bad off probably wouldn’t bother with prenatal care anyway.
Those who use drugs recreationally might see a doctor, but if the doctor flat out tells them they will call the law on them, they will very likely avoid medical care. That may be fine and dandy for the doctor who doesn’t have to deal with them, but what about the unborn child? The sign seems to be advocating for the welfare of the unborn baby, but if the doctor scares off the mother, what good does that do? And doesn’t that sort of conflict with what doctors are supposed to be doing, which is providing healthcare to people who need it?
I happen to be pro-choice, but I couldn’t help but notice. As long as abortion is legal in the United States [remember, this was written in 2015], it seems kind of ridiculous to take this sort of attitude, anyway. I mean, the mother to be can terminate her pregnancy if she chooses. Using illegal drugs is against the law, anyway. Why turn it into a crime against the unborn? Why does the fact that the mom to be is pregnant even come into it? She’s breaking the law, so deal with her.
At this point, we don’t force people to see their doctors. People have a hard enough time accessing appropriate medical care for reasons other than being threatened and alienated. This attitude of needing to police private citizens is creepy to me [I really had no idea what was coming, eight years ago, did I?], and in the long run, I don’t think it makes things better for anybody. Of course a pregnant woman shouldn’t be using drugs, and something should be done if she comes up positive on a drug screen. I think the attitude toward her should be more supportive and helpful, not threatening.
Besides… a woman whose newborn baby comes up positive on a drug screen at the hospital is going to be referred to CPS anyway. All that sign does is encourage the mother to avoid seeing doctors and give birth outside of a medical setting.
Here’s another thought. For most medical procedures, physicians must get informed consent before they go ahead with it. I suppose a sign like this informs patients that the doctor(s) at this practice will do random drug screens, and gives them the option of going elsewhere for their prenatal care. But what about health care professionals that do screenings without the patient’s knowledge or consent? Isn’t that a violation of their rights?
I know there have been cases in which mothers have been arrested for having positive drug screens and have gone to court. In South Carolina, there was a big case involving pregnant women, Ferguson v. City of Charleston, who were tested for drugs without their knowledge or consent. It went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the search in question was unreasonable, especially since the searches had the potential to land someone in jail.
In any case, while I certainly wouldn’t condone a pregnant woman using drugs, and I agree something should be done to help or dissuade drug abuse in pregnant women, I don’t think taking an adversarial, threatening attitude is in the best interest of patients. The goal shouldn’t be to sell mom down the river; it should be to get her appropriate help so she can successfully raise her child. I think it would be hard to do that by threatening patients with getting the police and child protective services involved before they’ve even been seen.
Edited to add in 2023: I don’t know if the photo is real or fake. I just thought the discussion it generated was interesting. You can see the original post here.
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