Category: Women’s Health & Alcohol
Drinking During Pregnancy and FAS
Alcohol and Diabetes
Alcohol and Heart / Circulation
Domestic Partner / Spousal Violence
Alcohol and Osteoporosis
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
- [Note: It has been pointed out that "given
its emotive nature, the issue of risk to pregnancy has frequently
been overstated. For example, US publicity material in the 1980s
and early 1990s frequently quoted Clarren, a worker at the Seattle
Institute of Dysmorphology, as having stated that alcohol was
the third most important cause of infant handicaps. However, Clarren
was referring to handicaps with known causes, which are only about
10 per cent of the total. Such problem inflation is fanned by
press reports of cases of severe alcohol damage, and although
scientists may dismiss isolated reports, they assume great importance
in the minds of the public and consequently in the minds of policy-makers."
- The past is illuminating; "In the
US no public warnings were issued until 1977. Women were then
warned against consuming more than six drinks a day. At the same
time, moves to display compulsory public health warnings about
the dangers of alcohol to the foetus were rejected. In 1980 a
national workshop was held and the following year the American
Surgeon General issued a warning to pregnant women against consuming
alcohol, even in food. In spite of protests, this warning was
widely publicised and increased research funding for nationally
co-ordinated projects on the topic provided. In New York and many
other parts of the country, bars, restaurants and liquor stores
are required to display a sign stating that drinking can cause
birth defects. Since 1989, every container of alcoholic beverage
sold in the US has had to carry a label which gives a warning
that women should not drink alcohol during pregnancy because of
the risks of birth defects."
- And the pressure continues: "Since
the late 1980s the issue has become of increasing concern to the
US legal system. Cases of physicians facing damage suits for failing
to advise that alcohol could affect the foetus have been reported.
Since 1987 mothers who use alcohol...during pregnancy have become
subject to increasing legal controls, compulsory treatment and
may even face imprisonment. If their child shows positive signs
of damage they may also face charges of child abuse." (Waterson,
J. Women and Alcohol in Social Context: Mother's Ruin Revisited.
Hampshire, England: Palgrave, 2000, pp. 167-168. Note: internal
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