Imagine this: You’ve just had a baby. It was a wonderful homebirth, very peaceful. Breastfeeding was established the way it should be, without interference. You were never needlessly separated from your baby. About five weeks go by, and you get a phone call from a government worker who looks over your child’s birth certificate and tells you you forgot to get your baby’s blood drawn for metabolic testing. “Oh that,” you say, “I didn’t forget. I have no plans to get my baby’s blood drawn. Thanks anyway. Good-bye.” For that, guess what happens? Child Protective Services shows up at your door and takes your baby away.
So your baby is kidnapped from you (but it’s legal ’cause the government is doing it) and taken to some stranger’s house, a foster home. In order to make sure your baby is still being breastfed, you visit the foster home and breastfeed your baby — not the government’s baby and not the foster home’s baby, but YOUR baby — the one you gestated for nine months and then birthed, with much pain, from your body. And then the judge in charge of hearing your case finds out that you are spending time with your baby and forbids you from visiting YOUR baby for the purposes of breastfeeding because, as every ignoramus knows (and I mean “ignoramus” literally), formula is “just as good.” And that silly breastfeeding thing, eh, that’s not so important to a baby’s health and emotional well-being, right? Not to mention, you must not love your baby if you don’t make him bleed for an arbitrary test imposed by the government, so you should be punished and not have any right to see him. …WTF?
Can anybody else see what’s wrong with this picture?
This actually happened to Nebraska resident Mary Anaya and her family. The test in question, a test considered invaluable by medical and government authorities for determining whether or not a child is born with rare metabolic disorders like sickle cell anemia and phenylketonuria, required a blood draw. The Anayas rejected the test because they consider blood to be sacred. Most other states allow parents to reject the testing for personal preference or religious reasons, but Nebraska does not.
Whatever the Anayas’ reasons for not wanting their child to get blood drawn (and regardless of my own personal opinion on getting this test done), it is unconscionable for the government, for any institution, to step in and remove a child from a family’s home when it is clear it is more harmful to the child to be removed than it is to just let him live with his family. Furthermore, okay, so after baby was already removed from his rightful home and forced to have his blood drawn anyway (which was presumably the whole point of taking him into state custody in the first place)…why, then, was the judge so callous about not letting the mother feed her own child??? I wonder how so many people in the Nebraska Supreme Court could have screwed this one up so badly. It’s a no-brainer, but I guess this means these people have no brains? Or no heart? I would imagine there have got to be far worse child abuse cases in the state of Nebraska for them to waste so many precious resources on this one, a case where it’s clear no abuse has taken place.
You know what would solve this? A provision in Nebraska’s law that would allow parents to sign an agreement with the government freeing the state of Nebraska from any legal liability arising from the development of an undiagnosed metabolic disorder, if the parents wish to forgo the screening. Problem solved. The end. Why can’t Nebraska state law just do that? Or is the prospect of tormenting future breastfeeding moms and their families way more satisfying than finding a real solution? Assholes.