Drug Testing of New Parents
Racial disparities are well-documented in the healthcare system. New York City hospitals overwhelmingly target Black and Latine/x/a/o/Hispanic parents and newborns for surreptitious drug tests. Drug tests often lead to unnecessary calls to the State Central Register solely because a parent or newborn tests positive for a substance when there are no indicators of harm to the child. These reports expose Black and Latine/x/a/o/Hispanic families to harmful government intervention, and in some cases, family separation. In this way, the current reporting practices threaten the health and wellbeing of both the parent and newborn. Selective drug testing of pregnant or postpartum people and newborns in steeped in the implicit bias of service providers. And thus, similar to stop and frisk practices, the “test and report” practice of hospitals and family regulation authorities reveal extreme racial disparities.
BDS advocates for the passage of the Informed Consent Bill (S4821/A4285), which will prohibit non-consensual drug and alcohol testing and screening of pregnant and newly parenting people and their newborns unless there is a medical emergency.
Movement for Family Power, Drug Policy Alliance, NYU Family Defense Clinic: "Whatever they do, I'm her comfort, I'm her protector" Report
The Gothamist Article: NYC Will End Practice Of Drug Testing Pregnant Patients Without Written Consent
The Imprint Article: New York to Investigate Hospital Drug Tests of Black and Latino New Mothers, Which Can Prompt Foster Care Removals