Drinking While Pregnant Could Become A Crime As Landmark Case Goes to Court This Week 4 years ago

Drinking While Pregnant Could Become A Crime As Landmark Case Goes to Court This Week

According to women’s charities, having a drink while you are pregnant could become illegal in England depending on a court case that is being heard there today.

A council in the north west of the country is reportedly looking for compensation today in the case of a child who suffers from health problems allegedly due to the consumption of alcohol by her mother while she was pregnant.

It is reported that the six-year-old girl has “growth retardation” which the local authority cites is as a result of her mother’s drinking. According to reports, the little girl was born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).

Now, there are widespread fears that the case could lay the foundations for women’s behaviour to be criminalised in future as if the court agrees that the woman did indeed commit a crime, women’s charities have stated that this could lead to further legislation against pregnant women.

However, the lawyer for the Council has stated that the mother “had been warned on a number of occasions that if she continued to drink excessively the child would be harmed.

“It’s for the court of appeal now to decide whether recklessly taking alcohol was tantamount to poisoning the foetus,” he said, adding that it was “simply about proving that if there was recklessness and it has resulted in damage, the child is then entitled to an award which will improve their lives.”

Meanwhile Clare Murphy from the British Pregnancy Advisory service stated: “If a woman finds herself in this situation we really need them to confide in health professionals, not criminalising pregnant women when what they need is help and resources.”

Doctors are now calling for stronger warnings to be issued about the risks of drinking during pregnancy.