The AP reported Monday on the case of Stacey Anvarinia, the North Dakota woman who recently pleaded guilty to felony child neglect for breastfeeding under the influence. She could face 5 years in prison when she is sentenced in August.
As you may remember, the story emerged last week, and initially there were numerous questions lingering. Not to mention a lot of debate on whether alcohol consumption affects breastmilk and therefore the babies who drink it.
But now, a few more details have come out about this case, and it actually makes less sense. Grand Forks Police Lt. Rahn Farder commented on it:
This case is more than just the breast-feeding. It was the totality of the circumstances. It is quite unusual for a mother to be breast-feeding her child as we are conducting an investigation, whether she was intoxicated or not.
Not only does that puzzling quote leave me wanting to interrogate the police force, so do a few other points.
The police arrived at Anvarinia’s home after receiving a domestic disturbance call. Anvarinia said that her boyfriend assaulted her, and the police report said she had swelling on her nose and chin and a scratch on her cheek. Indeed, in the above mug shot, she does look a bit messed up.
The boyfriend was not there at the time they arrived and has not been charged for the alleged assault. Grand Forks authorities also decline to say who currently has custody of Anvarinia’s 6-week-old daughter.
The AP story also included a mention that the woman had a previous criminal record, but did not say what that involved.
Finally, there’s this:
It’s unclear how much Anavarina had to drink. Police never conducted a blood-alcohol test. Investigators believed she was drunk, and her arrest on a charge of child abuse and neglect did not require a test.
‘The majority of our problems are caused by alcohol,’ said Grand Forks Police Capt. Kerwin Kjelstrom. ‘Our officers handle it so much that it is pretty much a general knowledge thing to know when someone is intoxicated. It’s pretty obvious.’
Oooh. Now I get it. A woman who gave birth 6 weeks earlier and then was allegedly assaulted (in the head, no less) and happened to have a criminal record was perceived to be drunk, so she probably was. Therefore, it was obviously in the best interest of mother and breastfed child that they be separated. Like I said…making less sense all the time.
There are ongoing arguments in the online community about this case. And the more details that emerge, the more discussion there will be, it seems.
Since when is breast-feeding while drunk a crime? If she had been bottle-feeding her baby, no one would have bothered to check what was in the bottle. You can do a lot more damage by mixing formula wrong.
Image: Grand Forks County Correctional Center