Drinking in pregnancy: Pregnant women who drink alcohol could face prosecution
Lawyers claim mum inflicted grievous bodily harm on baby born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome
Pregnant women who drink alcohol could be prosecuted following a test case currently being heard by the Court of Appeal.
My local authority is seeking criminal injuries compensation after a six-year-old girl was left with growth problems caused by her mother’s alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
If the court agrees the woman committed a crime, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas) and Birthrights claim it could pave the way for pregnant women’s behaviour to be criminalised. The girl was born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), which can cause growth and facial abnormalities and intellectual impairment.
John Foy QC, barrister for the local authority in the North of England that has brought the case, told the court today (Nov 5): “It’s not disputed that the mother administered a noxious thing, it could be described as a destructive thing, to her daughter and it inflicted grievous bodily harm on her. Foetal alcohol syndrome can result in babies being born with brain damage as well as
- Hearing and ear problems
- Mouth, teeth and facial problems
- Weak immune system
- Liver damage
- Kidney and heart defects
- Cerebral palsy and other muscular problems
- Height and weight issues
- Hormonal disorders
So should you drink during pregnancy………. and my opinion is NO, not even a drop. Mothers who know they are pregnant are CHOOSING to drink. They have a choice and no the dangers of drinking. One drink will always lead onto another which is why there should be no drinking when pregnant.
Should this be made a criminal act?? In my opinion NO. Yes the pregnant lady knows she is pregnant and is CHOOSING to drink, but if this is made a criminal act, what about the ladies who don’t find out they are pregnant till very late on in pregnancy and have drank throughout there pregnancy. They haven’t committed a crime as they never knew they were pregnant.
For us as a campaign group, its so frustrating because as stated these women are choosing to drink. For ladies on the medication Epilim which is now officially proven to cause defect to the baby, we have no choice in taking these medications. They are treating illness such as Epilepsy, Migraine, Depression, Bipolar, Pain Relief and Anorexia. The child/children affected by these medicines will then be diagnosed with Fetal Anti Convulsant Syndrome and the list above for Alcohol Syndrome is parralel to the FACS diagnosis. For ladies in these categories we are needing these medications to control the illness we have, we don’t have a choice and that is a huge difference.
If this case wins in court, and the compensation is then paid out to the child, does that pave the way and encourage women to go out get pregnant, drink during pregnancy because they then could qualify to be awarded a set amount of money. In my opinion and the way society is……… Yes it could
Current NHS guidance says women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should avoid alcohol altogether. But if they choose to drink it recommends they should not have more than one or two units once or twice a week. I totally disagree with these guidelines also. Is it really that hard to give up for some women the little amounts of wine/cider for 9 months while there beautiful baby is developing. For the women who are alcohol dependant it is help and support they need at this time…. not added pressure of being victimised as a criminal.