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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Addicted mothers who endanger babies need more than treatment. They deserve jail

A photo of Chelsea Becker
Chelsea Becker’s mother holds a photo of the 25-year-old mother who has been charged with murder.
(Tomas Ovalle / For The Times)

To the editor: I would totally agree with columnist Robin Abcarian’s opinion on Chelsea Becker if only one of the 25-year-old’s four children had been born testing positive for methamphetamine or dead because of meth-related reasons.

But three out of her four children were born with meth in their systems, one of which was a stillbirth. This is totally irresponsible on Becker’s part.

Becker, who has been charged with murder, needs to pay for this with jail time, not just treatment. How many chances does she get?

Eric Saudi, Altadena

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To the editor: What are the odds?

In a state rife with meth-addicted women of child-bearing age, since 1983 just two of them have been charged with murder of a stillborn baby whose body contained toxic meth levels. Both those cases arose recently in Hanford, a San Joaquin Valley city with just 56,000 residents.

Where the connection between a pregnant woman’s meth usage and the diminished viability of her fetus is so strong, wouldn’t one expect numerous meth-prompted stillbirths to occur outside Hanford? Or might the single Adventist hospital that reported Hanford’s stillbirths to the coroner -- with no legal mandate to do so -- be intent on bolstering anti-abortion advocacy with the help of a deep-red county’s like-minded prosecutor?

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Faith-based “right-to-life” advocacy is fine. But seeking prison sentences for drug-addicted women smacks of ideological grandstanding, if not medieval persecution.

Greg Gilbert, Burney, Calif.

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To the editor: According to Becker’s brother, “She’s somebody with an addiction problem, not a murderer.”

With this warped logic, we would excuse the alcoholic who shoots his neighbor and the heroin addict who beats someone to death. In other words, any addict would get a pass for murder without taking any responsibility for their actions and choices.

Oh, and throw out all the drunk-driving charges while you’re at it.

Dianne Marlin, Long Beach

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To the editor: Nowhere in the discussion of Becker and other drug-addicted mothers has there been any mention of the fathers in these situations.

The women giving birth to babies with drugs in their systems are so addicted that they seem incapable of giving consent. So why aren’t the fathers being held to account?

Lauren Siadek, Hawthorne


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