No; this is not from The Onion.
Yesterday we reported on the efforts of the National Health and Medical Research Council wanting to prevent the blowing out of birthday cake candles in childcare centers. Today the nannies of Queensland are flexing their muscles and limbering up to fight for the right to detain pregnant women to monitor them for bad behavior.
Over the last couple of days a high drama has erupted over photos of radio personality Chrissie Swan, who was caught smoking while pregnant. It is open to speculation whether the odd ciggy she is smoking will do as much harm to the unborn child as the stress caused by the nationwide publicity, invasion of privacy, and personal attacks by the media, wowsers, and busybodies coming down on her like a ton of bricks in a classic example of pack mentality.
There is no news on whether the actions of the Qld police are caused by Chrissie’s actions, or whether the publicity has given them an excuse to attempt to secure sweeping and draconian new powers well outside the bounds of rationality:
THE police union in Queensland wants beefed-up laws to force pregnant women into safe houses to monitor their drinking, drug use and their associates in a bid to protect unborn babies.
Union president Ian Leavers said the current legal requirement not to interfere with "the rights and liberties of a pregnant woman" should be abolished for risk-taking mothers-to-be. The onus should be on the rights of the unborn child, not the mother, the union argues in a submission to the state's child protection inquiry by former Family Court judge Tim Carmody.
Citing fetal alcohol syndrome, children born with drug addictions and women with mental-health issues who jeopardised their own and their children's safety, the submission says the state must be able to intervene.
"The cost to society in providing care and assistance to children born with ailments solely as a consequence of the actions of the mother during pregnancy is astronomical," Mr Leavers argues in the submission. …
… Social work emeritus professor Rosamunde Thorpe, the president of the Townsville chapter of the parent-advocacy group Family Inclusion Network, said the proposal was draconian and open to abuse. "I think it's very perturbing, very, very perturbing," Professor Thorpe said.
"There would need to be far more safeguards built in. We need to avert moral panic. Without having firm information about the numbers of removals because of fetal alcohol syndrome at birth, we can be overreacting in a vacuum of knowledge."
It is remotely possible that the police have cleared up all violent crime and now find they have so much time on their hands that they feel the need to be the arbiters of morality and good behavior, although that is unlikely. Perhaps pregnant women in their third trimester are easier to cope with than violent criminals and they can be seen to be achieving something at much lower personal risk.
The nanny state is one thing; the police nanny state is quite another.