Monday, January 29, 2007

Legal Ramifications for Women Giving Birth to children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

A new bill being introduced in New Mexico would make it a misdemeanor to give birth to a child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. While the bill only deals with those children who have FAS, not others on the spectrum (such as those with Fetal Alcohol Effect and don't have the facial characteristics), it at least makes a statement that it is wrong to damage the brain of your own unborn child.

Anyone who is not sure whether alcohol really does damage the brains of children should be required to spend even a week following around a teenager who has this diagnosis. Their choices, thought patterns, ability to reason, decision making, etc. is mind boggling. We have a son who is almost 18 who has it and if you've followed his story on our personal blog, you will be amazed at his ability to manipulate people into following the plans that he makes for himself that don't make any sense whatsoever.

Maybe it is a woman's right to drink while she is pregnant, but someone needs to protect the child inside her from having brain damage.

Unfortunately, many of the women who are pregnant and drinking also have fetal alcohol syndrome and will never understand that they need to not drink in order to avoid a misdemeanor. Placing a consequence ahead of them will make no difference whatsoever if they have the Syndrome themselves.

Whether or not drinking while pregnant and causing irreprobable damage to a fetus is a crime, I think is a no brainer. It certainly is a crime. But I'm dubious that making it a misdemeanor to do so will curb alcohol use for most women during their pregnancy.

No comments: