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South Dakota sued for using catheter in toddler drug screen

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.  (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union sued South Dakota on Thursday over the forced use of a catheter to take a urine sample from a 3-year-old boy who was being tested for exposure to drugs as part of a child-neglect investigation.

The ACLU filed a pair of federal lawsuits challenging the practice, saying it violated the constitutional rights of the boy as well as five adults who underwent the same procedure in separate cases.

“Subjecting anyone to forcible catheterization, especially a toddler, to collect evidence when there are less intrusive means available is unconscionable,” said Heather Smith, executive director of the ACLU of South Dakota.

The boy’s mother said she was coerced into giving consent for the procedure, which Smith called “painful, physically and emotionally damaging, and deeply degrading.”