Pregnant patrons should be refused alcohol for baby’s sake

A pregnant girl walks into a bar, lights up a cigarette and orders a glass of wine.This joke doesn’t sound funny, does it? That’s because it isn’t.

I recently visited a bar in my hometown over the weekend and saw this very scene.

Although I was shocked at the sight of this woman’s reckless disregard for her unborn baby’s health, I was even more shocked at the waitress’, bartender’s and police officer’s apathy for the situation.

“A couple drinks won’t do any harm,” the waitress said.

According to the March of Dimes Web site, 40,000 babies are born each year with alcohol-related problems. Although many women realize heavy drinking can cause birth defects such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, many women are unaware that moderate or light drinking while pregnant may also harm the fetus, according to the Web site.

Between 1,300 and 8,000 babies are born each year with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. FAS is one of the leading known preventable causes of mental retardation, according to the CDC.

Although the bartender said he disagreed with the pregnant woman drinking, when asked why he served her, he simply replied, “If she wants to screw up her baby’s life, it’s not my problem.”

I agree that it’s the woman’s right to make her own decisions while pregnant; I don’t have the right to stop a pregnant woman from drinking. However, I believe the bartender had an obligation to stand up for what he believed and not serve the woman.

The future generation of America is his problem. It’s a problem for all of us.

A 2001 study by Wayne State University found that 6- and 7-year-old children whose mothers drank as little as one drink a day during pregnancy were more than three times as likely to show aggressive or delinquent behavior.

I don’t want aggressive or delinquent people running the country when I’m retired. It’s in our best interest to rear a productive future generation for the country.

Paul Jordan, general manager for Snookie’s Bar and Grill on South Hulen Street, said any establishment may refuse service to anyone. He said that although he doesn’t agree with serving a pregnant woman alcohol, there is currently no law that prohibits it.

Abusing a fetus is just as serious as abusing a child, and there are plenty of laws that regulate child abuse. Where’s the logic?

“Whether I disagree with it or not, I can’t judge someone for doing it,” Jordan said.

Jordan said serving pregnant women is not a liability to the establishment because it is the women’s choice to drink. He also said a Snookie’s bartender would stop serving a pregnant woman if she began drinking excessively.

Emily Blackman, a sophomore premajor who is a waitress at 8.0 Restaurant and Bar on East 3rd Street, said she has never been told a policy about serving pregnant women. She said 8.0 is smart about whom they serve and said serving pregnant women would be circumstantial, depending on the bartender.

With so many warnings about the dangers of drinking while pregnant, I can’t understand why any woman would deliberately put the life of her child in danger. Nine months is not a lifetime to go without a drink. Although some might say a glass of wine a day poses no harm to an unborn child, I have this to say: Is it worth the risk?

I strongly encourage others to take up for the life of an unborn child and speak out to any pregnant woman with a drink in her hand.

Leslie Honey is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Longview.