With about 7,000 UK babies affected by FAS, a landmark court case currently underway could make a birth mother drinking alcohol while pregnant guilty of a crime against another life.
According to the U.K.’s Department of Health, 1 in 100 babies have serious alcohol-related
disorders at birth and statistics show a 50 percent increase in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome over the last 3 years. With about 7,000 UK babies affected by this syndrome, a landmark court case currently underway could make a birth mother drinking alcohol while pregnant guilty of a crime against another life.
The test case claims a 6-year-old girl with brain damage was poisoned by her birth mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy despite warnings, and the girl deserves compensation. The prosecution argues alcohol acts as poison to threaten life or greatly harm another, which is designated a crime by UK law.
Dr. Raja Mukherjee says alcohol crosses the placenta to the fetus through the bloodstream. He explains, “The fetus’ liver isn’t fully formed, so it cannot metabolize the alcohol quickly enough.”
The adoptive mother of a 15-year-old FAS victim who is mentally 4 years old with many physical disabilities that require wearing diapers and tube feeding among other needs – says the real keys are education and consistency. She noted of the advice given, “It should be to abstain from alcohol throughout pregnancy. You can't make it a criminal offence if you are still legally saying this is a safe amount to drink or you can drink.”
Critics of the law say women should be educated more instead of prosecuted.