It is commonly accepted that pregnant women are placing their fetus at risk of harm by drinking any amount of alcohol during pregnancy, reflected in public health guidelines in the US and globally. This messaging, however, disguises the substantial uncertainty around the relationship between alcohol use and infant outcomes. As in the war on drugs, the science of alcohol-related harms can become twisted, resulting in blame and stigma rather than support and care, particularly for marginalized groups. How can discourse around this topic best represent the evidence? Can science in this area be values-neutral?
This event will not be a debate about whether any kind of alcohol use during pregnancy is good or bad. Rather, this seminar will bring together scholars in sociology, epidemiology, and law to trace the evidence for and the origins of these warnings, and discuss broader issues of equity, health and welfare for women and their children.
Clare McCormack, Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience, Columbia University