Drinking alcohol while pregnant could become a crime after landmark test case

A landmark test case due to be heard by the Court of Appeal could criminalise excessive drinking during pregnancy.

It will be argued that a six-year-old girl is the victim of a crime because she suffered brain damage when she was exposed to alcohol in the womb – a risk that her mother was aware of, Sky News has reported.

The case comes amid a 50 per cent rise in Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) in the past three years, with 313 damaged from exposure to alcohol in the womb in 2012/2013.

Figures from the Department of Health show in total around one in 100 babies are now born with alcohol-related disorders.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Raja Mukherjee warned that pregnant women do not have to binge-drink to be at risk.

“If you avoid it that’s the safest route,” he told Sky News.

“That doesn’t mean that people who’ve drunk a little bit have harmed their child, most people won’t have done, but if you want to guarantee safety and you want to guarantee no risk then no alcohol is the best way forward,” he added.

Sue Brett, the adoptive mother of 15-year-old Glenn who was born with FAS after his mother drank excessively, said women need to be better alerted to the dangers.


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