PARENTS

Drinking Alcohol While Pregnant Could Be Ruled A Crime

14/08/2014 16:58 | Updated 20 May 2015

Pregnant and drinking

Harming an unborn child by drinking while pregnant could be ruled a crime in a landmark court case.

The court of appeal is hearing the case, which claims a six-year-old girl who suffered brain damage after her mother 'poisoned her' by drinking alcohol while pregnant.

Campaigners argue people who drink to excess during pregnancy should be considered to have administered poison so as to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm - which is a crime under section 23 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. A north-western council brought the case on behalf of the girl, arguing she is the victim of a crime and is due compensation.

It comes as Department of Health figures show a 50 per cent rise in Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) in the last three years.

According to Sky News, 313 babies were found to have been damaged by alcohol exposure in the womb in 2012/13. The case currently being heard by the court of appeal is being seen as a test case for up to 7,000 babies in the UK which could be affected by FAS.

Dr Raja Mukherjee on the Drink Aware website, said: "When a pregnant woman drinks, the alcohol goes across the placenta to the foetus via the bloodstream.

"The foetus' liver isn't fully formed, so it cannot metabolise the alcohol quickly enough."

FAS can lead to hearing problems, a weak immune system, liver damage, epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

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