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Drinking during pregnancy can be ruled ‘crime of violence’ in court?

Drinking during pregnancy can be ruled ‘crime of violence’ in court?
A local authority is applying to the Government’s criminal compensation authority for damages on behalf of a seven-year-old girl in its care who has severe alcohol-related disabilities.

Its lawyers have told the Court of Appeal that her mother was “reckless” in her behaviour by drinking up to half a bottle of vodka and eight cans of strong lager a day while she was pregnant.While they do not suggest the damage was deliberate, they say she discussed her drinking with professionals and “went on to take the risk”.

The case, in which a ruling is expected next week, has sparked heated debate over the dangers of alcohol and the rights of women and foetuses in a country where abortion has been legal since 1967.Women’s rights groups have warned that it risks opening the door to police action against pregnant women as is increasingly happening in the United States.

“The case is of social significance,” said the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Birthrights charities. “If the court were to interpret the law as requested by the council, it would establish a legal precedent which could be used to prosecute women who drink while pregnant.”

Agencies

Agencies

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