Today the Court of Appeal will hear whether a child with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome whose mother drank while she was pregnant with her is entitled to criminal injuries compensation. the full story is here in the Independent
The label Foetal Alcohol Syndrome covers a range of deficits which have been linked to the toxic effects of alcohol when it crosses from the mother’s bloodstream into the foetus via the placenta during pregnancy. These deficits can include learning and behavioural difficulties, congnitive deficits, and a particular set of facial features. More here National Organisation for Foetal Alcohol Syndrome UK
Sky News have been covering this story this morning, and it was good to see that both of their interviewees, one an adoptive mother of a child with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, and one a doctor with a special interest in Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, both saw absolutely no merit in prosecuting women who drink while pregnant. Dr Mary Mather, Medical Director for Parents for Children said (and I paraphrase) Criminalising women is not going to help….. no woman intentionally harms their baby. Rather than dragging women through the courts we should spend the money on preventing this disability.
I blogged about alcohol and pregnancy earlier this year, and pointed out the inconsistent advice we give pregnant women in the UK: Being pregnant is hard enough now this. NICE guidelines basically say don’t drink during pregnancy, but if you do, just drink a little bit, and only a few times a week. The words fence and sitting come to mind.