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These adolescents and adults who become pregnant and give birth raise a number of moral, economic, and ethical questions as to how our society should move forward in coping with both mentally ill mothers and their children.
She is a schizophrenic and drug addict who earns money prostituting on the street. She rejects any form of birth control because she wants a baby.
If the children are not removed immediately from the patient’s custody and put into the state foster system, they often have to be closely monitored by social workers throughout their lives.
Studies have found that up to 50 percent of mothers with severe mental illness lose custody of their child at some point.
To force a patient to receive medications, another court hearing must be scheduled and the judge must rule that this can be done. Therefore, forcing a patient to accept some form of birth control such as the birth-control implant must come from a conservator who gives permission for the device to be placed and a judge who determines the hospital can do this against the patient’s wishes. Legally, a procedure such as tying the patient’s tubes to prevent further pregnancies is nearly impossible.
This obviously brings up a number of moral and ethical questions that must be weighed against the economic and social impact that the birth of these children will have on society.
It also exposes mentally ill female patients to any number of dangerous situations and makes them vulnerable to rape and sexual assault.