What are the unintended consequences of alcohol and pregnancy warning labels?
Alcohol warning labels have been used by a number of provinces, states, and countries as a way of trying to prevent FASD by encouraging women to abstain from alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
While popular with the general public and widely promoted by many groups and organizations, their use remains controversial as there is limited evidence for their effectiveness. A scoping review published last year (Thomas et al, 2014) concluded that alcohol warning messages have the most influence on low-risk drinkers and have not been shown to change the drinking behavior of those who drink heavily or binge during pregnancy.
In a recent article published in The American Journal of Bioethics, Emily Bell, Natalie Zizzo & Eric Racine (2015) discuss ethical concerns stemming from the questionable effectiveness of alcohol and pregnancy warning labels:
There are good reasons to question the use of alcohol labels and the narrow messages they convey…
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