Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Are smokers unfit parents?

Nurse Goodbody watched intently as the pretty six-year old said good-bye to the well-dressed young couple. The child was positively beaming as she watched her prospective new parents disappear around the corner of the building.

Goodbody smiled and held out a beckoning hand to the youngster. “A perfect match”, she thought.

Melissa skipped across the polished marble floor and grasped Goodbody's out-stretched hand. “They're nice.” she said enthusiastically.

“I'm sure they are.” said Goodbody. “Let's go see Miss Cratchit and see what she has to say. Maybe she'll have some good news for you”

And, with that, they skipped hand in hand to the office of the hospice administrator.

Goodbody's happiness for what she perceived as Melissa's good fortune was short-lived. In fact, it ended before she had fully entered the administrator's office.

“I thought I asked you to do a thorough background check on the Tuttle's.” demanded an angry Miss Cratchit.

“I . . . did . . .” Goodbody hesitated, unsure of the reason for the obvious anger in Cratchit's voice.

Her investigation had turned up nothing sinister in the background of either Mr. or Mrs. Tuttle. The couple was childless, both were hard-working and well respected in their community. And, they wanted desperately to adopt a child. Neither drank anything other than an occasional glass of wine and neither had a criminal record; not even a paring ticket. What could she have missed?

“They're smokers!” snapped Cratchit, spitting out the word smokers as if it were a synonym for pedophile. “Do you really want to place a child with those foul smelling degenerates?”

“They're nice.” Interjected Melissa defensively. “And, Mrs. Tuttle smells good.”

She had no real understanding of what was happening. She didn't even know what a smoker was. But, judging from Miss Cratchit's tone of voice, it must be something bad. And, she knew instinctively that her dreams of having a real Mommy and Daddy of her own were about to be put on hold.

“And, I know they liked me,” she continued, her voice quivering; pleading. “She said I was bootiful, and she wants to help me with my homework and give me a room of my own and everything."

“You'll understand why we can't let you go with the Tuttle's when you're older, Melissa.” Cratchit ignored the tears welling up in the young girl's eyes. Then, turning to Goodbody, she said: “Take Melissa back to class. You and I will discuss this matter later.”

Noting the finality in Cratchit's voice, Goodbody once again offered her hand to the now sobbing child. There would be no skipping along the hallway as the two made their way to Melissa's classroom.

Such is the world of the anti-smoker; peeking at life through the distorting lens of a peephole, unable to see more than a tiny fragment of the big picture at any given point in time or space. So fixated are they on the eradication of smokers, they are oblivious to the very real damage they inflict on those they claim to protect.

A recent
article on Wales Online says a council in Wales has imposed a blanket ban on smokers adopting or fostering children It's not the first jurisdiction in Britain to ban smokers from becoming foster or adoptive parents. But, most such bans have usually (though not always) been restricted to children under the age of five. The new Welsh ban is extended to all children and young people.

Roslyn Rees is head of operational children’s services at Merthyr Tydfil council, which took this extreme, and in all probability counter-productive, action since potential foster parents are in short supply. Said Rees: “The health, safety and well-being of children and young people are at the heart of policies and practice related to children."

Uh-huh. The health, safety and well being of the children obviously does not include their emotional or psychological needs. Can't have smokers providing a loving home for these youngsters and maybe subjecting them to the mostly illusory hazards of secondhand smoke. Better to confine the kids to an institutional setting until they can find “decent” parents.

The incoherent decision by the Merthyr Tydfil council, branding smokers as unfit for parenting, maligns the character of every smoking parent in recent history, no matter how conscientious they may have been in nurturing their children and providing for their needs. The anti-smokers have decided that, even with no real evidence of harm; some people are unfit to be parents simply because they smoke.

The rabidly anti-smoker group, ASH (Wales), welcomed the news, claiming removal of smokers from the list of prospective care-givers and adoptive parents was “a step in the right direction.” Will the next step in the “right direction” be to demand that natural parents quit smoking or run the risk of losing custody of their offspring?

The contempt for smokers is both irrational and appalling. Using innocent children as pawns in their de-normalization campaign against smokers is simply disgusting.

Additional reading:
Welsh Council Bans Smokers from Adopting or Fostering Children

1 comment:

James said...

It goes beyond that - ASH America also goes as far as calling smokers child abusers and child murderers. It even offers an advice page on how to seperate children from their smoking parents - see the outragous ASH smoking and custody page: http://www.ash.org/custody-and-smoking.html