Ta Nehisi Coates has a short blurb about about the crack baby ‘epidemic’ in the early 1980s in the US. You can also watch a ten minute video / short documentary about it here.
Coates mentions the influence of racism in how women were being prosecuted for being pregnant while addicted to cocaine. In fact, there’s a whole confluence of racism, classism, misogyny, and ableism that feed into the crack baby hysteria:
–the racism and classism that goes into poor WoC being more easily seen as irresponsible mothers who were recklessly endangering their unborn children
–the general misogyny that a woman’s health (like helping her with her addiction) is not nearly as important as the health of the her unborn child (so she should be prosecuted for potentially harming it.)
–the ableism that influence our standards of health. Part of the hysteria was that babies would be born with physical and cognitive disabilities, which not only lead us to think of them as not being fully human, but we were then also concerned about all the extra money they disabled kids would cost us. Because you know, the *tragedy* here is not that there are a bunch of women addicted to a dangerous drug, but that people’s taxes will go up from from all these costly, disabled babies.
Eek, it’s like a messed-up game of “spot how the -ism influences our moral concerns.”