Minor Thoughts from me to you

Another Poppy Seed-Based Child Abduction

Another Poppy Seed-Based Child Abduction

For the second time in a year, Lawrence County Children and Youth Services has been accused in a federal lawsuit of removing a child from a mother’s custody after a positive test for opiates allegedly triggered by poppy seeds.

Eileen Ann Bower, a Lawrence County resident whose residence and age were not provided, gave birth to a son, Brandon, on July 13, 2009, according to a complaint filed late Friday. She was stunned, it said, when a blood test at Jameson Hospital came back positive for opiates.

Brandon was taken into foster care three days after his birth, it said, and only returned on Sept. 29. In the interim, Ms. Bower came to the conclusion that the test must have come back positive due to her ingestion, at her last meal before childbirth, of Salad Supreme dressing with poppy seeds . . .

As a repeatedly new parent, I have a hard time imagining a worse thing. This mother has had her right to due process of law violated rather blatantly. There was no evidence that chain of custody was preserved with her blood sample: do we know that the blood that was tested was actually hers? There was no evidence that the sample was collected appropriately: was it tainted somehow during the drawing process? There was no evidence presented that the traces in the blood were actually from opiates: could the traces have actually been from poppy seeds?

None of this evidence was presented, this mother was not convicted after receiving due process of law, and she wasn’t legally sentenced to losing custody of her child. No, the county agency took one look at one lab test and immediately assumed that they knew what was going on.

That’s wrong and it needs to stop. This is the second time that Pennsylvania county has done this. As Glenn Reynolds is apt to say: “Tar. Feathers.” That’s what will make this kind of abuse of power stop.

(Thanks to Radley Balko for the link.)