ROCHESTER, New York (CNN) – A mother struggling with drug addiction has been placed under a court order to avoid getting pregnant.
The mother had already been stripped of custody of her four children –due to neglect.
Family court cases are not often covered by reporters, but Gary Craig of the Democrat and Chronicle says it was the judge’s ruling that made this case unique.
“So it’s saying that we’re telling you not to have anymore children until you’re fit to at least have the newborn back in the house,” said Craig.
Craig says the defendant is a mother accused of neglecting her children multiple times. The most recent case concerning her infant son who was born addicted to drugs.
Other moms support Judge Patricia Gallaher’s decision.
“I have three children and I want the best for them and I don’t think you’re in your best mind when you’re doing drugs,” said a mother who only wanted to be identified as Jennifer.
Gabrielle Stephens is another mother who supports the judge’s ruling.
“Definitely not have anymore. I think she needs to clean up herself in the meantime. I think that her kids should be placed somewhere where it’s safe,” Stephens said.
Scott Forsyth is a counsel to the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and he says the judge’s decision sets a dangerous precedent.
“It’s not the business or right of business, and that’s what court is, is a branch of government to step in and tell somebody they cannot procreate cannot get pregnant again until certain conditions happen,” Forsyth said.
Craig says in 2004 another judge came down with a similar order which was overturned in a higher court. He says both judges emphasized providing family planning information.
“The judges I think in both cases the current one and the older one wanted to make sure the county was doing what social service law asks it to do,” Craig said.
The judge does not expect the woman will face jail time if she fails to comply.