Mums-to-be alcohol risk

Drinking during pregnancy
Drinking during pregnancy
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A WIGAN campaigner believes a landmark case could have far reaching implications in her quest to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking while pregnant.

Gloria Armistead – who will receive an MBE this year for her charity work – said the case brought by a local authority against a mother who drank during pregnancy, could bring the issue “to the fore”.

The unnamed local authority is to go to the Court of Appeal to establish that a six-year-old girl with brain damage due to her mother’s drinking is the victim of a crime.

The council argues the mother criminally poisoned the unborn child as it has evidence she was forewarned of the risks if she continued to drink. The girl is now in foster care.

Mrs Armistead MBE, who established borough based charity FAS Aware UK, told the Evening Post: “There is funding to help pregnant women to stop smoking and stop taking drugs, yet no real positive support to my knowledge for pregnant women and alcohol consumption.

“Hopefully the UK Government will get the push to give out one message of no alcohol when contemplating getting pregnant and during pregnancy. I have battled in this country since 1999 trying to share the message of informed choice.

“I have tried and tried to get all agencies that deal with pregnant women to put up posters and hand out leaflets.

“Sadly it often fell on deaf ears.

“If you go into doctor’s surgeries or any place that pregnant women go in the borough, you will not find any posters or information although we have been giving them out for years.”

The case before the Court of Appeal could have wider implications as local councils and adoptive parents of children with FAS disorders could be entitled to claim funds through the criminal injuries compensation scheme.

A previous tribunal hearing in the same case found that it could not deliberate if a crime had been committed by the mother because as the unborn girl was not yet “a person” in legal terms, a crime had not been committed. Women’s rights campaigners have voiced strong opposition that these actions should be considered a crime.

They have warned that giving legal rights to an unborn child would have wider implications.