oa South African Journal of Bioethics and Law - Should drinking during pregnancy be criminalised to prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorder?
|Article Title||Should drinking during pregnancy be criminalised to prevent fetal alcohol spectrum disorder?|
|© Publisher:||Health and Medical Publishing Group (HMPG)|
|Journal||South African Journal of Bioethics and Law|
|Affiliations||1 University of the Witwatersrand|
|Publication Date||May 2016|
|Pages||26 - 30|
The harmful effects of alcohol use during pregnancy have been well documented. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is the collective term encompassing the various clinical diagnoses that can occur in a child who was exposed to alcohol prenatally. The affected child suffers a range of lifelong primary and secondary disabilities. There is no cure for FASD, but it is preventable if women do not drink during pregnancy. Should women be banned from, and/or punished for drinking during pregnancy for the sake of preventing fetal harm? This article considers the appropriateness of criminalising drinking during pregnancy as a means of preventing fetal harm and consequently FASD in children, and concludes that criminal approaches are unjustified, potentially discriminatory and likely to be ineffective.
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