Ever since the rise in awareness of fetal alcohol syndrome, there’s been a big debate swirling around whether pregnant women can drink, and if one glass of chardonnay on occasion will really harm their pregnancy. Back in February in fact, the CDC recommended that women who weren’t on birth control shouldn’t even drink. And now, erring on the side of a pregnant woman’s autonomy, New York City has issued guidelines saying that bars can’t refuse to serve women just because they’re expecting.
According to the Associated Press, the city’s Human Rights Commission said it’s not only against the law to refuse a pregnant woman drinks, but to keep her out of bars, with the following reasoning:
“Judgments and stereotypes about how pregnant individuals should behave, their physical capabilities and what is or is not healthy for a fetus are pervasive in our society and cannot be used as pretext for unlawful discriminatory decisions” in public venues, according to the new guidelines.
With that, the city is squarely taking on a touchy subject that stirs conflicted feelings about pregnancy and personal autonomy. It also has sparked at least one complaint: The commission is looking into a case concerning a pregnant woman denied entry to a bar or club, said Lauren Elfant, an agency lawyer. She wouldn’t give more detail because the case is open.
On the one hand, alcohol can really have long-term negative effects on a developing fetus. On the other hand, allowing pregnant women to have control over their own bodies is also important. It’s a tricky issue with reasonable arguments on both sides.
You can view the full guidelines here.
(Via Associated Press)