Any ruling that accepted that this mother had committed a crime would be taking us into dangerous territoryby Jessica Abrahams / November 17, 2014 / Leave a comment
Drinking alcohol to excess while pregnant is “on all fours with manslaughter.” That is the view of lawyers currently involved in a criminal injuries compensation claim at the Court of Appeal, on behalf of a child with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder, an umbrella term for developmental problems caused by maternal drinking. A ruling in favour of the claimant would involve the court accepting that the girl’s alcoholic mother committed a crime under the Offences Against the Person Act.
Although a test case in the UK, this is not the first accusation of its kind. From the classical period through to the present day, mothers have often found themselves in the firing line when children are stillborn or suffer from disabilities—whether it is her negative thoughts or bad posture, her diet or the condition of her womb that is thought to have caused it.