Should drinking alcohol during pregnancy be a crime?

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Should the stupid mother be punished for drinking and/or smoking during pregnancy
Yes 32%  32%  [ 8 ]
She has the right to screw up her children, so No 8%  8%  [ 2 ]
I don't care 8%  8%  [ 2 ]
The poll is obviously biased 44%  44%  [ 11 ]
None of the above 8%  8%  [ 2 ]
Total votes : 25

Philologos
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07 Jul 2011, 11:16 pm

The obvious solution is for all reproduction to be handled at central state-run facilities. where eggs and sperm can be combined to provide optimal genetic mixes for the State's needs for new humans and spare parts.

Embryos designated as replacement citrizens will be gestated in controlled conditions until "birth", and then transferred to creches for training.

Any human female who allows an unauthorized egg to be fertilized will be apprehended, as will the sperm donor, after DNA identification. They will be sterilized, if of significant use to the State, or recycled.


Pretty common proposal in some strands of sci fi. We are about ready with the technology. That should eliminate the risk of pitterpattering feet making workers less productive.



LKL
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08 Jul 2011, 2:48 am

Obviously, any woman with a drug or alcohol problem in any state with one of these 'fetal harm' laws should abort asap, lest she end up in jail for a decade or two after miscarrying. Or even any woman without a drug or alcohol problem, because a miscarriage is clearly always the woman's fault - and a miscarriage is always possible up until the birth of an infant. Better for the mother to just abort and be safe, especially if she already has children to care for.



visagrunt
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08 Jul 2011, 11:29 am

People seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that any consumption of alcohol during pregnancy will create risks for the foetus. This is an uncritical and potentially incorrect view.

Studies have demonstrated that consumption of 2 to 14 drinks per week by pregnant women will not present any elevation in risk for giving birth to a child with malformations or FAS. That being said, it should not be assumed that consumption at or under this level is "safe"--indeed, there is no "safe" level of alcohol consumption for anyone, pregnant or otherwise. There is, however, good evidence that consumption at low levels can be undertaken with minimal risk.

The obstetricians that I have talked to all take the view that a pregnant woman should have no hesitation in talking to her obstetrician about alcohol. Abstaining from alcohol (particularly before conception and during the first trimester) is a prudent and conservative approach, but an otherwise healthy, pregnant woman can likely safely consume small amounts of alcohol during her pregnancy.

In the absence of a clear indication of what constitutes a reasonable course of action for pregnant women, the use of the criminal law to impose an arbitrarily rigid standard appears to me to be misplaced.


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08 Jul 2011, 8:46 pm

I will fully admit that I did drink alcohol when I was pregnant, and I knew that I was pregnant.

I enjoy a bit of rum with eggnog. And so I had, at most, 1/4 oz. of rum in some warm eggnog. I was about 2 - 3 months along. My doctor told me (before I had any, because I asked) that this would not be a problem. And (*gasp*) I had this same type of drink several times (no more than one a day, and I would say I had it about 5 times in total while pregnant).

Also, consider that there's alcohol in mouthwash, and it can get absorbed into your system just by sloshing it around in your mouth.

This begs two questions:

1. Should I be put in jail, even though I had a full-term, healthy baby?
2. Should mouthwash for pregnant (or "pre-pregnant") women be made illegal?

Also, I breastfed and drank. But I preplanned. I would pump milk beforehand, and prepare bottles for my baby. Then, the night of the event (once, a Christmas party, another was a wedding) I would drink and, when I got home, pump off my breast milk and discard it. I did this until about 12 hours after my last drink. In the meanwhile, my baby had the pre-pumped milk. So... here are another few question:

3. Should I be put in jail for drinking while breastfeeding?
4. Should the holder of the liquor license for those events be held legally responsible for serving alcohol to a breastfeeding woman?

If someone conducted herself the same way as I did while pregnant and breastfeeding, and her child was later diagnosed with a learning disability, should we point the finger at the mother? Because it just may have had something to do with consuming 1/4 oz of rum every once in a while? Or, god forbid, using mouthwash? Doesn't this sound ridiculous to anyone?

LKL has pointed out some frightening stories about the drive to impose a lack of basic human rights for pregnant women. And no one here has said much (if anything) about them. You think you're an advocate for human rights? Then keep in mind women, whether "pre-pregnant", pregnant, or post-natal, are HUMAN BEINGS with the legal rights of PERSONS.



Esteban
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09 Jul 2011, 1:53 am

If a pregnant woman drinks heavily, knowing she's pregnant and intends to have the baby, morally that is grievous bodily harm. though any laws against it would probably be unenforceable. The availability of contraception and abortion is irrelevant - the woman can always choose to stop drinking. Unless the state is forcing her to drink, it is not responsible for FAS, the mother is. But I'm not aware of any government in the world shoving a funnel into pregnant women's mouths and pouring vodka down.
That men wear condoms is neither here nor there - unless she's raped, the woman can make condom use a condition of sex. If she's raped, it results in pregnancy and abortion is unavailable to her, she can always stop drinking. Abortion costs money? So does alcohol...



LKL
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09 Jul 2011, 3:00 am

addiction is a medical issue, not a moral one.



ruveyn
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09 Jul 2011, 9:04 am

Esteban wrote:
If a pregnant woman drinks heavily, knowing she's pregnant and intends to have the baby, morally that is grievous bodily harm. though any laws against it would probably be unenforceable.


The fetus within is not a person, so it is not grievous bodily harm to a person.

ruveyn



Esteban
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09 Jul 2011, 11:33 am

ruveyn wrote:
Esteban wrote:
If a pregnant woman drinks heavily, knowing she's pregnant and intends to have the baby, morally that is grievous bodily harm. though any laws against it would probably be unenforceable.


The fetus within is not a person, so it is not grievous bodily harm to a person.

ruveyn


If she carries it to term - that is, unless there is a miscarriage or an abortion - it does result in grievous bodily harm to a person eventually.



ruveyn
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09 Jul 2011, 12:02 pm

Esteban wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
Esteban wrote:
If a pregnant woman drinks heavily, knowing she's pregnant and intends to have the baby, morally that is grievous bodily harm. though any laws against it would probably be unenforceable.


The fetus within is not a person, so it is not grievous bodily harm to a person.

ruveyn


If she carries it to term - that is, unless there is a miscarriage or an abortion - it does result in grievous bodily harm to a person eventually.


Maybe yes, maybe no. It depends on the amount of alcohol consumed. Since the live birth of an infant cannot be assure any damages done to the fetus cannot be said to be eventual damages to a person until it is determined that the child born has been injured by the alcohol consumed. A woman cannot be punished for a wrong until a wrong is established. Actually that is true for anybody.

ruveyn



Esteban
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09 Jul 2011, 4:21 pm

ruveyn wrote:
Esteban wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
Esteban wrote:
If a pregnant woman drinks heavily, knowing she's pregnant and intends to have the baby, morally that is grievous bodily harm. though any laws against it would probably be unenforceable.


The fetus within is not a person, so it is not grievous bodily harm to a person.

ruveyn


If she carries it to term - that is, unless there is a miscarriage or an abortion - it does result in grievous bodily harm to a person eventually.


Maybe yes, maybe no. It depends on the amount of alcohol consumed. Since the live birth of an infant cannot be assure any damages done to the fetus cannot be said to be eventual damages to a person until it is determined that the child born has been injured by the alcohol consumed. A woman cannot be punished for a wrong until a wrong is established. Actually that is true for anybody.


Fair enough.