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  1. Background
  2. Position
    1. The lack of cases assessed in which the child that is being abused is a fetus
    2. The responsibility of the mother to her child
  3. Child Abuse and the use of alcohol and tobacco
    1. Extreme use of alcohol
    2. Internal defects which occur as a result of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
    3. Women who smoke during pregnancy
  4. Child Abuse and the Use of Illegal Substances
    1. Excessive use of cannabis
    2. Using cocaine during pregnancy
  5. Conclusion

A human being can be defined as a living thing that has, or can develop, the ability to act or function independently. In the simplest terms possible, it is the state of existing. How do we judge the value of human life? What makes one life more precious than another? There is great controversy concerning the fetus, a term used to describe a developing baby from the ninth week of development to birth, and whether or not it should have rights and be considered a human being. Of course, the fetus is dependant on its mother for the approximate nine months that it seeks shelter from her. However, according to the previously stated definition, the fact that the fetus is in the process of developing means to function independently, it is obvious that the fetus should be deemed a human being. Another point worth noting is the fact that a human being that exists outside of a mother's body has a brain to control its body function, and a heart to pump its blood. Although a fetus is constantly changing and maturing, and these organs may not be developed to the point at which they can function on their own, a fetus contains the same elements, and thus should not be disregarded as a human being.

[...] Placenta previa is a disorder in which there is an abnormal implantation of the placenta at, or near, the internal opening of the uterine cervix so that it tends to precede the child at birth, typically causing severe maternal or fetal hemorrhage. Abruptio placenta is the premature detachment of a normally situated placenta, which is dangerous because it can cause an excessive amount of bleeding, and fetus fatality. Ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy located outside of the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. [...]

[...] Also, many mothers may vouch that they would never abuse their children, yet they smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol throughout their pregnancy. A controversial issue is whether or not to enforce some sort of legal penalty following these actions. Would it be beneficial to the child to terminate motherly rights? Would it prove more effective to demand some sort of mandatory rehabilitation? Or, maybe have no penalty, at all? Different people may argue a variety of solutions; however, some sort of action must be taken in order to prevent future incidences in which the fetus is harmed beyond its control. [...]

[...] Child Abuse and the Use of Illegal Substances Similar to alcohol and tobacco, illegal substances can have drastic effects on a healthy human body, and lead to unwanted addiction. Excessive use of cannabis, more commonly known as marijuana, can lead to chronic bronchitis, memory loss, and poor lung functioning; cocaine can cause lasting cardiovascular and central nervous system disorders; and heroin can lead to the collapsing of veins and infection and deterioration of heart lining and valves. The consequences of illegal substance use are, unfortunately, greater when a fetus is present. [...]

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