Protect Iowa Newborns - Sponsor Sterling’s Law

Protect Iowa Newborns - Sponsor Sterling’s Law

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Justice for Baby Sterling Daniel Koehn started this petition to State Senator Waylon Brown and

Baby Sterling Daniel Koehn died at the hands of his parents around August 30, 2017, in Alta Vista, Iowa. The circumstances surrounding his death are tragic and unconscionable. Baby Sterling died in agony after many days of neglect and lack of care by his parents. You can read more about Baby Sterling and the circumstances of his murder here

One detail that has stood out to me as I have followed this case is that when Sterling was born, he was taken to a local hospital. At that hospital, his umbilical cord was tested for the presence of drugs. The presence of Methamphetamine was found in Baby Sterling’s umbilical cord. However, state officials say they didn’t learn of this positive drug test until after Baby Sterling died (The Courier). 

If someone providing medical care at that hospital had just reported that Sterling tested positive for the presence of meth at his birth, he might still be alive and living in a loving and happy home today.

According to a 2017 report in the Journal of Neonatal Perinatal Medicine that studied instances of newborn drug screening, “sixty-nine of 76 [Iowa] hospitals completed the survey for a 90.8% response rate. Newborn drug testing is ordered in 97.1% of responding hospitals with most testing 25% or less of newborns annually. The majority utilized a risk assessment tool (89.6%), although many (62.7%) also allowed for provider discretion. No hospital performed universal testing of all newborns. 86.6% of hospitals reported all positive newborn drug test results including illicit and/or prescription drugs to child protective services. 35.0% of hospitals notified mothers of the report and 45.5% offered substance abuse services and/or treatment to the mothers."

Clearly, Iowa is not doing enough to protect its most fragile of citizens. According to this report, less than 100% of Iowa hospitals test newborns for the presence of drugs, and only 25% or less of newborns are being tested in the hospitals that do test. Some hospitals use a risk assessment tool to determine which babies to test, but not all do. And, for those hospitals that do conduct risk assessment and neonatal drug testing, only 86.6% reported it to child protective services.

That is why, through this petition, we are asking the Iowa state representative and senator representing Sterling's legislative districts to draft and introduce a bill of legislation to the Iowa State House and Senate that will be known as Sterling's Law. This bill would legislate into law mandatory, universal drug screening of mothers and/or newborns upon hospital admission and delivery, and mandatory reporting of maternal drug abuse to state child protective services. That way, child protective services can follow-up with drug-addicted mothers and continue the process of screening parents and homes, and identifying situations of child abuse. If even one social worker had been notified to follow up with the Koehns, he might still be with us today. 

Sterling did not have anyone to stand up for him in his life. He died after many excruciating days, alone, terrified, in the utmost pain, and too weak to even cry. I hope that now, you will join me and hundreds of others in standing up for him in his death. Please sign this petition and urge Senator Brown and Representative Prichard to write and sponsor Sterling's Law. 

 

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 10,000!
At 10,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get a reaction from the decision maker!