But VicPark...that's not how law works.
You're right, a slippery-slope argument is a logical fallacy... it doesn't actually argue against the case being put, it kind of side-steps the issue. The problem is that law is different to just a logical argument. Legal rulings hinge on precedents, and you cannot guarantee that the scope of a law as intended will be identical to its possible future uses.
Edit: Also, as others have said, punishment simply doesn't work as a form of deterrent - there's no evidence for it. Putting someone in jail is helpful if they're a risk to the community, but otherwise it's extremely expensive for very little benefit. Rehabilitation rates in prison are shockingly low, and I don't think that feeling good that you've punished someone for doing something wrong is worth the cost of doing so.
If we actually want to improve the situation, we need to look at EVIDENCE for what works to prevent alcohol abuse...not just punish women cause we think they've done the wrong thing.
Last edited by Renn; 08-11-2014 at 12:01.
Should it be illegal to drink in pregnancy? No. However, if your child is born with FAS then yes I think you should be criminally liable. You have sentenced that child to a lifetime of hardship, why shouldn't you be punished? I don't see it any differently than an alcoholic who makes the decision to drink drive and causes an accident. Yes they are an alcoholic with obvious issues, but does that take away their personal responsibility? No way! To drink to those excessive levels is child abuse in my eyes, you are subjecting an innocent child to something terribly dangerous and ultimately life altering. It doesn't mean we shouldn't feel compassion towards the mother that has the drinking problem, but to excuse her from liability is diminishing the seriousness of the damage she has caused.
I keep trying to say the same thing in lots of different ways and I'm not sure if it will make sense.
I think the reason this scenario feels different is because it's about a human child that exists and is living a crummy life with FAS.
As OP said, that child needs to be advocated for and provided for. Because of that little girl sitting there I struggle to connect it with bodily autonomy and debates about when conception begins, rights of the embryo vs rights of the woman and all of that stuff.
I've said pretty clearly that I think support and resources are what I think should be the focus rather than jail time, and that making laws is dangerous and has potential for misuse. It's just - there are children suffering needlessly and it upsets me. I wouldn't feel better for throwing an addict's sorry ar$e in jail, that's not who I am, but gee I wish this sort of thing never happened. So sad n
But what about parents who expose their kids to second hand cigarette smoke? When I worked in a pharmacy when I was younger we had one family with 4 kids who were all seriously compromised with lung related illnesses yet their parents chain smoked. I'd watch them walk out of the pharmacy and straight into their car, light up with 4 kids inside and all the windows up. The kids were all asthmatic and the cost of medication and hospital visits would have been enormous.
I do get what people are saying who agree with this. I just think there are so many things parents do that could warrant culpability.
Another factor to consider is that the highest rates of FAS in Australia are in indigenous communities with some as high as (from memory) 22 per 10,000. These are already the most marginalized and deprived communities in Australia. Instead of pointing to a purely physical and reactive punishment which will do nothing but exacerbate and perpetuate the situation, how about we have pro-active initiatives that improve the lives and expectations of indigenous communities?
I have been reading all the comments in this thread and a lot of them argue that education is the key to combatting drinking and smoking during pregnancy. I agree that educating people on the effects of drinking and smoking during pregnancy would greatly help combat the problems. However, there are some people who just don't give a ****. They know that drinking and smoking during pregnancy are harmful but they will do so anyway. Just like they know smoking around your children is harmful to the children, and that driving while drunk is dangerous, but they do those things any way. It is not that they do not know. It is that they know and do not care. What should be done about those people?
It's against the law but no one goes to jail for causing lung cancer in their child or pluracy, which is what people are suggesting with FAS.
Last edited by Sonja; 08-11-2014 at 15:37.
My problem with this is the blanket banning. Hundreds of people every year die from drink driving. Yet we don't completely ban it, we set a limit. Everything in life, you can come up with an example where people make it hazardous to themselves or others. Take junk food. People give it to their kids which can rot their teeth, make them obese. Yet junk food isn't banned.
Any issues should be dealt with from a child protection basis. Banning alcohol for pg women is punitive and infantilises the 90% that have 1-2 drinks the whole 9 months. I'm 20 weeks pg. Haven't had a single drink. I'm a big girl though. If I want a weak shandy with the heat coming on, I will.
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