30 October 2009

Obese mothers and the loss of a principle

A newborn girl was taken into care because of fears her weight would balloon in the care of her obese parents. The child was removed from her mother within hours of being born earlier this week and has been placed with a foster family. Her parents, who are both clinically obese, have already had two children taken into care amid concerns about the youngsters' weight.
They have been warned they risk losing their remaining four children if they too fail to shed pounds.

Before she became pregnant, the mother weighed 23st. At that time one of her children, a toddler, weighed 4st and her 13-year-old son weighed 16st. Social workers in Dundee confirmed they took the baby because of fears the infant's weight would balloon. Her devastated mother, who is 40, discharged herself from hospital on Tuesday, a day after the birth. She and her husband, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were warned last year to bring their children's weight down.

Last night a Dundee council spokesman said the decision to take the girl was given 'careful consideration'. She added: 'It is never taken lightly and always at the forefront is what is the best course of action for the welfare and safety of the child or children.' (Daily Mail, 22 October 2009)
Before the Welfare State came in, in 1945, there must have been many people who would have found the idea of a new-born baby being taken away from its mother, whether or not the mother was obese, horrifying in principle. Now this does not seem to be the case. People may argue over whether the reasons are good enough, but the basic idea that the state should be free to remove children in their 'best interests' (as assessed by agents of the collective) has apparently been generally accepted.