Pubdate: Thu, 07 Jan 1999
Date: 01/07/1999
Source: The New York Times
Author: Lynn M. Paltrow

To the Editor:

A Jan. 5 letter writer suggests that something be done to prevent
women who take methadone from having children. Yet a Department of
Health and Human Services panel concluded that methadone is the
treatment of choice for heroin-addicted pregnant women because the
health outcomes of both the woman and the fetus are better than they
would be in the case of such addiction.

Pregnant addicts face discrimination and barriers in their efforts to
obtain drug treatment. For example, some methadone programs deny
methadone to pregnant women or reduce their dosage despite the fact
that withdrawal from heroin increases the risk of death for the fetus.

There are many threats to a newborn's health. The solution is not
sterilization of women, but confidential and nonpunitive treatment

LYNN M. PALTROW Director, National Advocates for Pregnant Women New