• Rebekah Porter

Newborn Eye Goop? Yes or No? Parents Get To Choose In TN

When a baby is born, care providers put antibiotics in its eyes to protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STD's). This eye goop is called erythromycin and is required due to the laws in many states. For the past 100 years it has been put in baby's eyes in TN whether the parents want it or not. In Chattanooga, parents were being restrained by the police while the nurse administered it against their wishes. That broke my heart and I decided to stop this by changing the law. The silly thing is that parents can choose not to vaccinate and even if they want vitamin K or not at birth, but you were forced to have the newborn eye goop. Where is parent choice?


One side note....if you are worried about having a sexually transmitted disease, you can easily test for STD's before birth to decide if eye goop is needed. The worry is that if a newborn comes into contact with STD's it could cause blindness. Why administer this globally if you can pretest to see if it is needed.


After months of work and the grace of God, the law passed in 2016 and parents now have the right to refuse. Please don't let a nurse or doctor scare you about calling CPS on you if you refuse. You legally have the right to accept or refuse. Don't give up your rights! Get educated and use your parent power to choose what is best for you and your children.


The 100 year old law has been changed! There is no longer a class c misdemeanor for care providers who don't administer it and parents have the right to opt out!


Let's look at the new law that became effective July 1, 2016. It states:

TCA 68-5-202: Treatment specified for infant at birth -- Reports of redness, swelling, inflammation or pus -- Penalty.

(a) It is the duty of any physician, nurse or midwife who assists and is in charge at the birth of any infant, or has the care of the infant after birth, to treat the eyes of the infant with a prophylaxis to prevent ophthalmia neonatorum or infections leading to blindness. The treatment shall be given as soon as practicable after the birth of the infant and always within one (1) hour; and if any redness, swelling, inflammation, or gathering of pus appears in the eyes of the infant or upon the lid or about the eyes within two (2) weeks after birth, then any nurse, midwife or other person having care of the infant shall report the condition within six (6) hours after its discovery to a physician licensed and practicing medicine in this state.

(b) Nothing in this part shall require medical treatment under subsection (a) for the minor child of any person who files with the department of health a signed, written statement that such medical treatment conflicts with the person's religious tenets and practices, affirmed under penalties of perjury.

Each hospital has a form you will need to sign to refuse.  They will file it with the state for you. If you are birthing at home, talk to your midwife or you can send your own letter in to the state stating that you refuse to have the eye ointment administered due to a religious exemption. Send it to NBS.health@tn.gov.

If you are not given a form to sign, you can write your own. It might say something like this:

"I have been informed that state law requires newborn eye treatment.

Nonetheless, I refuse this ointment at this time for my newborn baby________________  because such test conflicts with my religious tenets and practices.

Under penalty of perjury, I affirm such refusal because of a conflict with my religious tenets and practices. "

(Parent Name and Signature)

📷


The old law was made in 1915. It was 100 years old and did not give room for the parents to choose to not have it put in their newborn's eyes. You can read the old law and see how it changed.


The law prior to 2016 stated:

Title 68  Health, Safety and Environmental Protection   Health   Chapter 5  Prevention of Diseases   Part 2  Newborn Testing -- Eyes Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-5-202  (2015) 68-5-202.  Treatment specified for infant at birth -- Reports of redness, swelling, inflammation or pus -- Penalty.  (a) It is the duty of any physician, nurse or midwife who assists and is in charge at the birth of any infant, or has the care of the infant after birth, to treat the eyes of the infant with a prophylaxis to prevent ophthalmia neonatorum or infections leading to blindness. The treatment shall be given as soon as practicable after the birth of the infant and always within one (1) hour; and if any redness, swelling, inflammation, or gathering of pus appears in the eyes of the infant or upon the lid or about the eyes within two (2) weeks after birth, then any nurse, midwife or other person having care of the infant shall report the condition within six (6) hours after its discovery to a physician licensed and practicing medicine in this state. (b) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor. HISTORY: Acts 1915, ch. 52, §§ 2, 3; Shan., §§ 6756a3, 6756a4; Code 1932, §§ 11175, 11176; modified; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), §§ 53-622, 53-623; Acts 1989, ch. 591, § 113; 2008, ch. 847, § 2.



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Nashville, TN 37221

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