Free-Range Kids

Mom Faces Felony Charges For Taking a Drug Prescribed by Her Doctor While Pregnant

"I didn't think it was a big deal," says Kim Blalock. "My son is perfectly fine."

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Seven cops swarmed the home of an Alabama mom charged with the dastardly crime of taking a painkiller prescribed by her doctor while she was pregnant with her son—who, by the way, is perfectly fine and now 8 months old.

In 2020, stay-at-home-mom Kim Blalock of Florence, Alabama, was pregnant with her sixth child. A year earlier, she'd had surgery for back problems resulting from a car accident. She also suffered from arthritis and a degenerative disc disease, and was prescribed hydrocodone to ease her chronic pain. Though she had stopped taking the drug when she learned she was expecting, the pain got worse as the pregnancy wore on—and she had five other kids to take care of. Six weeks before her son was due, she was in such agony that she went back to her orthopedist and he renewed her prescription.

When her baby was born and tested for drugs, which seems to be routine, the results came back positive. The Department of Human Resources (DHR), the state's child services division, investigated and quickly closed the case, according to AL.com. But the cops and the district attorney? They smelled blood.

Prosecutors couldn't charge Blalock with taking illegal drugs, because she had a prescription. They couldn't charge her with abusing the drugs, either. (Not for lack of trying, though: DHR had actually counted how many pills she had taken.) Nor could the authorities charge her with getting the legal drugs by illegal means, such as doctor shopping, or forgery. What they could and did charge her with was not informing her doctor that she was pregnant. They labeled this prescription fraud: a felony.

This represents "the literal policing of pregnancy," says Ellie Lee, Director of the Centre for Parenting Studies at the University of Kent in England, one of the rare schools with a department focused on parenting policy.

Wisely, the Alabama state legislature had already passed a 2016 law to make sure moms taking drugs prescribed by doctors could not be prosecuted. But Blalock wasn't protected by that law, ostensibly because she might not have received the prescription had she informed the doctor of her pregnancy.

Blalock visited the doctor in person, but was in her car, due to COVID-19 restrictions. Authorities asserted that her obstetrician would have weaned her off the opioid, but Blalock countered that she did indeed tell her ob-gyn.

In either case, hydrocodone just isn't very dangerous. While babies exposed to the opioid in utero may have some withdrawal symptoms once born—including "irritability, excess crying, poor feeding, and tremors," according to AL.com—those symptoms "are not life-threatening."

Obviously, no one wants a baby to suffer. But no one should want a mother to suffer, either. And when a pregnant woman is in debilitating pain, there is no solution that promises perfection all around.

Rather than recognizing that fact, police officers waited until two months after the baby was born and then "swarmed Blalock's house while she and her husband were out of town." Her two teenagers were at home and said at least seven armed officers entered, asking questions about her whereabouts. The teenagers were so rattled that they went to stay with their grandparents.

A public information officer with the Florence Police Department declined to answer questions about the raid because the investigation remains open.

Emma Roth, a lawyer with the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, is representing Blalock along with other attorneys. Roth has asked that the charges be dropped. Hanging in the balance is not just Blalock's fate but the fate of any woman who goes to the doctor and does not inform them that she's expecting.

This reminds me of the CDC recommending that women who are pregnant or even could be pregnant avoid all alcohol. That means basically no drinks from middle school to menopause. The federal government's impulse was the same as the Florence police department's: focusing so intensely on the fetus that the woman is barely an afterthought.

"This is another leap forward in the long march toward erasing pregnant women as people," says Joan Wolfe, an associate professor of women's and gender studies at Texas A&M University, and author of Is Breast Best?

"If I had known what I know now, I would rather lay in bed my entire pregnancy in pain than take a pill," Blalock said. "I didn't think it was a big deal. My son is perfectly fine."

The fact that this prescription drug is not known to cause any lasting damage to a child means there is no reason to prohibit a mom in pain from taking it and feeling better.

NEXT: SCOTUS Refuses 'To Print a New Permission Slip for Entering the Home Without a Warrant’

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75 responses to “Mom Faces Felony Charges For Taking a Drug Prescribed by Her Doctor While Pregnant

  1. its not about erasing pregnant women as women, its about cops being assholes the erasing part is hyperbole which soon falls on deaf ears for its stupidity of trying to make something into something greater than it is.

  2. Just wait for when and if these mfers ever get their abortion bans upheld.

    1. Lard ass strudel prefers his murdering.

      1. @buckleup
        Have you buckled in your common sense lately? It seems to be on the lose after that wreck your brain had when it bounced off the side of your skull from your daily walks.

    2. Yeah those are exactly the same.

      Politics has broken your brain.

      1. Yes, it is the same, it is about punishing women for their conduct towards their fetus. I.e. for making choices about their own body, only because it would somehow impact the fetus that inhabits their uterus.

    3. I know right!! Babies will be born instead of murdered!!

    4. This is exactly one of many points I made in an abortion thread, about how unenforceable abortion laws are, and the predictable consequences of saying life starts at conception. If it’s illegal to allow a minor to smoke, drink, do drugs, etc, and even more illegal to force the intake, then it has to be applied to pregnant mothers too, and you end up with bullshit like this.

      No matter what people think of abortion personally, getting the State involved is just asking for mind-numbing enforcement that the anti-abortion crowd will swear up and down was not their intent.

      1. I have been saying for the past several decades that instead of being “Pro-Life” [which means exactly what it implies], or, “Pro-Choice” [which means exactly the opposite.] (Wanna find out? Say you’re ‘Pro-Choice’ and that you chose life and see what happens next when you mention that in a gaggle of “Progressives”.), I am “Pro-Informed Consent”. Which means as long as you’re aware that you have a life within you, and have been able to view a sonogram of the child within you, then you should be free to make the informed decision as to whether it continues it’s journey towards birth – or not. What could be more oriented towards “Science” than that? George Orwell’s “Doublethink” reigns supreme when it comes to snuffing out innocent life in the womb and saving life on Death Row. I say I can eliminate the crime of murder. Have the government (always on the lookout to make a buck and bleed the public as dry as they can) issue permits and set bag limits and call it a “Postpartum Procedure”.

        1. I can’t be bothered to read your clever tirade, but I’m sure we can agree you’re an idiot for thinking complaining is gonna do any good.

  3. Targeting pregnant women for drug abuse is a “thing” in many States and hospitals now; it has been seen as an opportunity to identify abuse/neglect and to force women into treatment programs, by performing mandatory drug screens on all women in OB units. It seems the various courts have been all over the map with this, though it has been ruled on by SOTUS in Ferguson v. City of Charleston:

    https://www.infoplease.com/us/government/judicial-branch/the-supreme-court-forcing-drug-tests

    It seems localities are continuing to find way around, or perhaps just ignoring, this ruling that taking drug samples from such women for the purpose of arresting and prosecuting them is a violation of their Fourth Amendment rights?

    1. It should be noted that in the case discussed in the Article, the mother was not forced to take a drug test. They tested the baby after she gave birth.

      1. Thank you; that of course is the other avenue to arrive at a “positive” and proceed accordingly.

  4. l’Etat est Dieu

  5. Good people don’t arrest people for victimless crimes. And what is described wasn’t even a crime. Evil tyrants do though.

    1. Even worse when done insidiously under the guise of “good intentions:”

      “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.” CS Lewis

      1. That is, by far, one of the most noteworthy quotes ever stated.
        Nothing could be more true than what CS Lewis stated.
        And nowhere will you find it to be more true than when progressives gain enough power to regulate you to death….for your own good of course.
        But I believe Bill Maher said it quite well:https://youtu.be/glz-Pm6HUG0

    2. If it were a crime, it wouldn’t have been victimless, though; the child would have been a victim of forced addiction to opiates. You can certainly rationally object to the arrest, but you’d need to find another rational basis for the objection.

  6. Did the doctor ask if she was pregnant? If so did she lie? I mean, yes, this is a silly thing to go after someone for, but it truly ascends into the realm of double silly if neither of the above is true. If she did lie then yes, that’s not something you should do and the police are doing what they are supposed to (though the law is dumb).

    1. Did the doctor ask if she was pregnant? If so did she lie? I mean, yes, this is a silly thing to go after someone for, but it truly ascends into the realm of double silly if neither of the above is true.

      She claims the doc never asked, and she never offered it.
      The state I believe is claiming that her failure to disclose (even if the doctor doesn’t ask) is obtaining a prescription via fraud / pill shopping. Prosecutors are trying to find new and creative ways to apply the fraudulent prescription statute.

      1. If only doctor’s offices made you fill out forms that could determine the truth of who said what about which conditions.

        1. Exactly. It’s really a shame there’s no paperwork ever done at the doctors office.

      2. The state’s position is untenable. She is not a doctor and is unqualified to judge the appropriateness of a prescription.

    2. The article says, “Blalock countered that she did indeed tell her ob-gyn”. Presumably the doctors will be called to testify if this comes to trial.

    3. She did a curbside visit from within her vehicle. It’s unclear what kind, but if it was an SUV or truck, she could easily have been hiding her belly below the door.

      Opioid addicts are well versed in ways to lie to get more drugs.

      1. And here we see a fatal flaw in the War On Drugs argument; it’s supposed to be ok to keep people in serious pain from obtaining opiates if it keeps one junkie from gaming the system.

        Foo.

        If the War On Drugs keeps one person from obtaining relief from real pain, it’s barbaric.

  7. Whatever one might think of the case, the title of this piece is dishonestly misleading in the extreme. It suggests that the prescription was obtained from a physician who knew about her pregnancy, which we later learn may well have not been the case at all. This is the same sort of shitty “journalism” that Reason writers love to criticize when it’s committed by other sources.

    1. Not really because she says she told her ob-gyn and he didn’t tell her not to.

      It’s not malpractice or unheard of for opiates to be prescribed in late pregnancy, especially low dose hydrocodone (and you can’t be on a high dose because they don’t make it without Tylenol which would nuke your liver).

      1. They do make hydrocodone without Tylenol, it’s called vicoprophen, hydrocodone and ibuprophen.

        1. And there is Zohydro, which is straight hydrocodone.

          1. Good to know.

      2. “She says” she told her ob-gyn. But that’s disputed. In the linked article: “Although Blalock said she told her obstetrician about the pain pills, Connolly said she did not.” (Connolly is the district attorney.)

        I’m just going to go head and assume that the DA talked to the ob-gyn before making this claim, because it would be a rather stupid way to lose a case to have the ob-gyn testify to the contrary. Prosecutors can sometimes be stupid, but they aren’t THAT stupid, and her lawyers would be moving for dismissal rather than running to the media if there was evidence she told her ob-gyn.

  8. “Obviously, no one wants a baby to suffer.”

    Not so obvious to anyone who knows the number of abortions each year.

    1. Or circumcisions

      1. These are performed using a dorsal nerve block or local anesthetic.

  9. “My son is perfectly fine.”

    We thought the same thing about Millennials when they were born. Now look at them.

    1. “Now look at them.”

      Thank God my two daughters are exceptions.

    2. That has more to do with the swill they were taught in school than with any drugs their parents may have taken.

  10. Though she had stopped taking the drug when she learned she was expecting, the pain got worse as the pregnancy wore on—and she had five other kids to take care of.

    I’m thinking the picture in the article is a stock photo and not representative of this mother.

  11. What they could and did charge her with was not informing her doctor that she was pregnant.

    6 weeks before she was due? I hope the doctor could figure that out on his/her own.

    1. Pretty much all the time it’s easy.

      There is the occasional ‘zebra’ though

    2. Pre-covid, when doctors could actually look at you, sure.

  12. I don’t think pregnant doctors should prescribe anything.

  13. Honestly this story is just another example of opiod crisis alarmism.
    Taking prescription level amounts of a drug like hydrocodone late in pregnancy just isn’t a big deal at all. For Fs sake, they load up with all the fentanyl you want when you go to deliver.
    The other joke is that if the kid becomes “disruptive” in kindergarten, mom will probably go to jail if she refuses to put him on pharma grade amphetamines.

  14. The entire War On Drugs is a huge waste of resources. If, at any time during it’s decades-long run, it had materially restricted access to illegal drugs, there might – MIGHT – be an argument for it. Is addiction a serious issue? Certainly. Does the War On Drugs address that issue in any useful manner? I seriously doubt it. What it does do is erode our civil rights, encourage police overreach, and promote empty posturing by the Political Class.

    Legalize everything, institute drubbing purity standards, and just accept that a certain number of sad, wasted people are going to ruin their lives with drugs, just as a certain number do with gambling, or any other vice.nThe Government is not our Nanny. Among other reasons, it has historically been rather bad at the job.

    1. Drug Purity not Drubbing Purity.

      I don’t have fingers, I have fungers.

      1. That made me laugh, thanks.

        We may not have an edit button, but I am thankful for the “mute” button.

      2. Two hands full of thumbs and fumblers.

  15. I lived in Canada for a long time, and Canadians literally laugh at how ape-shit the US law enforcement gets about these drugs. In Canada, you walk up to the counter in any pharmacy, or even WalMart and buy a bottle of 100 or 200 codiene tablets, no prescription required. And Canada only made it a “behind the counter” drug because of the US crying like a little bitch about it. Before that, the bottles sat on the shelf, you could buy as many as you wanted. Now you ask the pharmacist, he says sure, want the large one?, and hands you the pills.

    1. There’s a lot of money in drug prohibition.

      1. There’s a good deal of POWER, too.

        *spit*

  16. I am a physician. I can pretty well see when a woman is 7 1/2 months pregnant, no matter what she says (most of the time).

    1. So you physically saw all your patients in-person during covid lockdowns?

    2. Read the fine article. Due to COVID, she stayed in the car during the visit to the prescribing doctor. Her belly wasn’t visible.

      OTOH, every time I visit a doctor, I have to fill out a long form asking about all sorts of conditions, and I don’t think they’d change that even for a drive-through visit. Did she check yes or no for pregnancy? Checking no would be lying to obtain drugs, but it’s not clear that the police or prosecutor ever checked the form. (And I’ve wondered whether the doctor actually read it.)

      Finally, she had at least two different doctors: an OBGYN and whatever specialty was dealing with her pain and its causes. They should have been communicating with each other, but often don’t.

  17. And yet it’s legal to abort until just before the moment of birth…

  18. She should have told the doc she was pregnant. Basically pain should be treated during pregnancy and can be, but it is a very important piece of information and there are ways to treat the pain while decreasing risk.

    Really most women would have called the OB for guidance. You can give drugs like that but it takes some skill to do that.

    I don’t agree with the law getting involved but there are some flags in this story.

    Anyway baby is fine so that is good.

    And by the way. The CDC is just echoing the advice of the top OB/GYN organization ACOG (they are not the government). Obviously a glass of wine every now and then isn’t going to hurt but they recommend the same thing.

  19. Lenore – do we know how many of the hydrocodone tabs Kim did take while she was pregnant, and what strength they were? This would add some good detail to the article. My experience is nobody knows anything about opioids, including the doctors who prescribe them. I’m willing to be convinced otherwise, of course, if presented with solid evidence.

  20. Don’t the police and prosecutor in that jurisdiction have any realm crimes and criminals to deal with?

    1. Dealing with real crimes and criminals is a lot more work than hassling ordinary citizens.

  21. OK, here is where the, what I call schizophrenia of the law on this issue really ticks me off: Either that’s a person in there with all the rights as every other person, or it’s just a blob of cells that the mom can do with/to as she pleases.

    You cannot have it both ways!!!!!

    If it’s just a blob of cells, people who are so-called “pro-choice” but advocate for things like this are HYPOCRITES! If that’s just a blob of cells in there, or “her body her choice” (which are both bulls**t by the way: 1. We’re ALL just “blobs of cells” 2. Not her DNA, not her body), then you have no legal or ethical leg to stand on for arresting a pregnant woman for assault if she does drugs.

    If it’s an actual person in there, then change the laws to reflect the reality: abortion is murder.

    1. She was arrested for prescription fraud not for harming the fetus.

      1. Why was she arrested for prescription fraud?

    2. This is Alabama so I doubt the law was written by a “pro choice” legislator.

  22. Thank God the cops have eliminated all rape, murder and robbery in Florence so they have time to deal with this.

  23. Sue the pharmacist, the pharmacy, the lab, the person who drew her blood, and the OB-GYN for endangerment and excessive suffering! Ok, just kidding. But some of those folks may make good witnesses in a jury trial.

    I’d like to call up the judge who issued the warrant and ask him if the cops told him that the lady was out of town.

  24. Government (police) have no right to interfere in what any person takes into her body. EVEN a pregnant woman.
    No right, nor power.

    1. They may not have the right, but they obviously do have the power.

      And they shouldn’t.

  25. Someone tell prof. Joan Wolfe that ultra-feminized laws have already eliminated the baby’s rights and the father’s rights during pregnancy, so it’s unsurprising that pregnant women’s rights would be next.

    Does a woman’s right to kill a fetus mean she can also injure it? If not, how do you have an abortion without injuring the baby?

    Such palpable irony…

    1. The Law is an ass.

  26. Any competent practitioner fucking asks women of childbearing age if they are, or could be, pregnant. Contra the article, women who aren’t having unprotected sex can usually be fairly confident they aren’t pregnant. If you’re really not sure, I have a blood test to order for you.

    Yes, it does absolutely bear on prescribing. No, it didn’t hurt anything in this case. The cops and the state are being dicks.

    However: opioids are a shitty choice for outpatient pain management unless the pain is intractable and poorly managed by non-opioids, and even then only short-term unless there is no definitive intervention.

  27. I’m very confused about why you would take this case so far. What is the desired outcome?

    But histrionics like this are why it’s hard to take feminists seriously:

    “the literal policing of pregnancy”
    “Hanging in the balance is not just Blalock’s fate but the fate of any woman who goes to the doctor and does not inform them that she’s expecting.”
    “the woman is barely an afterthought”
    “the long march toward erasing pregnant women as people”
    ” I would rather lay in bed my entire pregnancy in pain than take a pill”

    You could practically FEEL the gasping and shock.

  28. “Ve vere just following ze orders,” will be the usual reply.
    I’m surprised her kids were taken from her placed in an abusive foster care home where they would be raped and she would end up in prison, then after she gets out forbidden all contact with her children.
    Yes, the state is that cruel. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  29. You know karma is a bitch. I really and truly hope those prosecuting this woman some day suffer from a frightfully painful injury or illness and get told oh no ,you don’t need narcotics for your pain. Here are some Tylenol and instructions on how to relax and meditate. For the record I suffer from migraines that are so bad I pass out from the pain. Imtex helps most times but there are times I need something stronger. My doctor allows me to keep it at home because laying in the emergency room ,screaming in pain for hours until they believe me got old real fast. The best part is when the nurses tell me they have migraines too and I’m just faking.

  30. “…back problems resulting from a car accident. She also suffered from arthritis and a degenerative disc disease…” And already had five kids. But just had to have another. Beef up the ol’ welfare checks, amiright? All that ‘debilitating’ pain, and yet she was somehow able to have sex. And hydrocodone “only” causes irritability, excess crying, poor feeding, and tremors. No biggy when you’re not the baby, right? So how long is it OK to subject a baby to all that? A day? A week? A month? C’mon ‘reason,’ tell us your metric for allowable baby suffering.

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