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Old 08-26-2010, 03:27 PM   #1
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We Don't Serve Pregnant Women Here

TODAYMoms - Are bars right to refuse to serve pregnant women?


Wed Aug 25, 2010 3:38 PM EDT

In terms of pregnancy, there are few topics more likely to spark debate than the question of expectant mothers consuming alcohol. While roundly considered a taboo, some medical experts maintain that the odd glass of wine is perfectly OK. Both The New York Post and Jezebel.com ran pieces on the controversial subject recently. Here, one blogging mother shares her perspective.

Amy Gates for BlogHer.com

A pregnant woman walks into a bar... It sounds like the start of a joke, but what actually transpired when an expectant mother ordered a glass of wine at a New Orleans restaurant isn't a joke at all.

Annie Krasnow of The Stir recently told the story of her friend who, at seven months pregnant, visited New Orleans with her husband for a "babymoon" -- in other words their "last hurrah" before entering parenthood. After a day of taking in the sights, they went to a quiet restaurant where the expectant mother ordered a glass of Chardonnay. The waitress responded, "We don't serve pregnant women here."

Annie posed the question, "What gives that server the right to refuse a grown woman alcohol?"

Some may argue that there is an innocent life at stake. In this case, her unborn baby can't speak for itself. But what about mothers who feed their obese children fast food? Or let them buy violent video games? Is anyone refusing them service? It's not like my friend was drunk. She wanted one glass of wine.

It seems that when women are pregnant, they become public property. I'm not condoning pregnant women getting drunk, but I don't think that waitress should be allowed to make that decision for anyone but herself.

Melimae replied in the comments, "I see both sides..if something were to happen to their baby, the family could go back and blame the restaurant, so they are just covering there butt. BUT I believe having a glass of wine is okay, some ppl say it helps the moms relax. I never did but that's my choice. So it should be her choice as well."

Squish also commented:

"If it was that important to her to have a glass of wine, then they could have ordered room service. It is general knowledge that drinking while pregnant is bad for the baby. Yes, a glass here or there is fine, but why impose that on a business that absolutely does not want to get sued, hurt a baby, or make other customers uncomfortable?"

Paula Bernstein at StrollerDerby believes that unless a pregnant woman is drunk, she should be served. She adds that when she was pregnant with her first daughter, she and her husband went on a "babymoon" to France. Her midwife told her it was OK to drink a glass of wine a day and added, "After all, the French women do it."

Paula also says she sides with the American Civil Liberties Union on the issue.

"Do we really want to make a pregnant woman's behavior and choices a crime because it could hurt the fetus?" asks the author of the Blog of Rights. Allowing the government to exercise such unlimited control over women's bodies, and every aspect of their lives, would essentially reduce pregnant women to second-class citizens, denying them the basic constitutional rights."

A comment from Suzy on Paula's allow adult women a little personal responsibility -- this country would NEVER pass a comparable law limiting men's rights." Candace Lindemann of Mama Saga and Naturally Educational debated on my Facebook page with the crowd that feels if a pregnant woman "needs" to drink, she should do it in private.

Candace argues it's not about the need to drink, "it is about the fact that a woman's body doesn't suddenly become communal property when she gets pregnant. Driving is riskier for pregnant women...should they stop driving? Or never leave the house due to air pollution? Or maybe not be allowed to order fried food? If they feel the desire to eat fish should they hide in their rooms and do it in there?"

Laura Kemp, a Bradley Method childbirth instructor, argued back, "I don't believe this is an issue of a pregnant woman's body becoming communal property as much as I believe most citizens view a pregnant body as a woman AND a child."

Candace replied that she believes the waitresses' response "stems not from compassion but from the paternalistic belief that others know what is best."

Interestingly enough (and falling into the category "the truth is often stranger than fiction"), Summer Minor just reported on new recommendations from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada suggesting that women who *might* become pregnant abstain from drinking altogether -- ya know, just in case they get pregnant at some point.Erin Kotecki Vest's doctor did when she went into preterm labor at 8 months and Erin said it worked. Other people have told me their care providers stuck to the no alcohol is safe stance.

Some studies report no alcohol should be consumed during pregnancy, while others indicate that light drinking is OK. I've had numerous people tell me their doctor or midwife said light drinking was fine. Some doctors and midwives even recommend it as a way to stave off preterm labor.

While I did not drink during either of my pregnancies, I think it should be a woman's right to make that choice for herself. I respect that the waitress did what she thought was right, but I really don't think it was her call to make. It's not her body. It's not her baby.

I think we start down a slippery slope when we start telling pregnant women what they can and cannot do. Where would it end?
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:02 PM   #2
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So apparently, when you become pregnant it's OK to treat a grown woman as a child? Right then. This is ridiculous but sadly not surprising.

What's next, requiring a pregnancy test before eating sushi?
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:06 PM   #3
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As a bartender I've refused service to a pregnant woman.

An establishment is asked to stop serving those that have had one too many, and many would believe one is one too many if pregnant. It's a gray line, but we're asked to mind it everyday.

Now I don't mind if a pregnant woman wants to have one glass, but I don't want to be the one that serves it to her(plus I don't know if that's her first).
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:35 PM   #4
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Given the risks of alcohol on unborn babies, if something bad were to happen, the bar could conceivably (pun!) be considered liable for serving her.

Doesn't a bar reserve the right to refuse service to anyone?
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Old 08-26-2010, 04:40 PM   #5
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They should just lace alcohol with birth control drugs.

That way drunks would not have babies.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:00 PM   #6
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What if a pregnant woman orders a coffee at Starbucks (not decaf)? What if she orders junk food at a restaurant or wants to buy something at a store that a pregnant woman is not supposed to ingest? If something bad were to happen as a result wouldn't they be liable and should they refuse to serve her?

Slippery slope? Where would it end?
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:07 PM   #7
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Can Bars Legally Serve Alcohol to Pregnant Women? - Associated Content - associatedcontent.com

When a woman becomes pregnant, one of the biggest decisions that she will have to make for the sake of her baby is whether or not she will drink alcohol. Although there are many women who make the decision not to drink
due to the risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, the sad truth is that others put their own wants before their health of their child. While it's one thing for a woman to make the decision to drink, what happens when a bartender is brought into the situation? Legally, can bartenders serve alcohol to pregnant women? What can a pregnant woman due if her baby is affected by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? Here, we'll take a closer look at this controversial issue.

Can Bartenders Legally Serve Alcohol to Pregnant Women?

While it would be very sensible for bartenders to be able to use their own judgment when serving pregnant women alcohol, the law says otherwise. According to law, a bartender is unable to refuse to serve a certain group of people, unless there is a reason for them not to, such as drunkenness. What this means is that, legally, a pregnant woman would be able to bring up a lawsuit against a bar if they made the decision to refuse serving her alcohol, based on discrimination. Does that mean that bartenders won't serve alcohol to pregnant women? No, of course not. Some bars may advise their bartenders not to serve pregnant women alcohol and other bartenders may make the decision to not do so, based on their own personal morals and beliefs - even if it should cause him or her to be fired. Whether or not a bartender should be allowed to does not seem to matter, as the decision to drink alcohol during pregnancy is currently pro-choice.


Can a Woman Sue a Bar if Her Baby is Born With Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

Many of us automatically think that all women have been informed about the risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, but the truth is that many haven't been. If a bar knowingly serves a pregnant woman alcohol without informing
her that alcohol may have a devastating affect on her unborn baby, a pregnant woman very well may have a good lawsuit on her hands. However, the likelihood of this actually happening is slim. Most bars and restaurants that serve alcohol have signs posted which advise women that they should avoid drinking due to risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. If a pregnant woman should order a drink, it is likely that the bartender will inform her of the risk and, at some bars or restaurants, a pregnant woman may be required to sign a waiver before being served alcohol. All of these preventative steps are taken to provide bars or restaurants with legal protection in this type of situation.

What if a Bartender Doesn't Know a Woman is Pregnant?

Although even one glass of wine during the entire course of a pregnancy can be harmful, the risk of a baby being affected with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is the highest during the woman's first trimester of pregnancy. However, this is the time in which a bartender is unable to see any signs of pregnancy, if the woman even knows that she is pregnant herself. If a bartender doesn't even know that a woman is pregnant, then he or she is really not doing anything wrong by serving alcohol to that woman. If a woman should try to bring this to court, it would be very hard for her to have a solid case, as the bartender didn't knowingly or willingly serve alcohol to someone who is pregnant. Of course, any form of legal protection that the bar may have, such as signs, would probably prevent the woman from being able to win a lawsuit.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsSpringsteen View Post
Squish also commented:

"If it was that important to her to have a glass of wine, then they could have ordered room service. It is general knowledge that drinking while pregnant is bad for the baby. Yes, a glass here or there is fine, but why impose that on a business that absolutely does not want to get sued, hurt a baby, or make other customers uncomfortable?"
hmmm...reminds me of a lot of the anti-breastfeeding in public comments....


I'm not a big fan of people determining what other people can and cannot do. If she wants a glass of wine, she should be able to get it.

Some of the preggers I know, that waitress is lucky she didn't get punched out.
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:16 PM   #9
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Telling pregnant women not to drink is 'sexist' - Telegraph

That's written by a guy
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Old 08-26-2010, 05:36 PM   #10
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Whatever you think may be the right thing to do, I don't fault bartenders for refusing service. First of all, you have no legal right to be served alcohol at a bar. Second, with our society's obsessive litigation, I don't blame people for protecting their own behinds. Third, if a bar sets such a policy then employees are merely compliant.
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Old 08-27-2010, 01:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anitram View Post
Whatever you think may be the right thing to do, I don't fault bartenders for refusing service. First of all, you have no legal right to be served alcohol at a bar. Second, with our society's obsessive litigation, I don't blame people for protecting their own behinds. Third, if a bar sets such a policy then employees are merely compliant.
exactly.
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Old 08-27-2010, 03:37 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anitram View Post
Whatever you think may be the right thing to do, I don't fault bartenders for refusing service. First of all, you have no legal right to be served alcohol at a bar. Second, with our society's obsessive litigation, I don't blame people for protecting their own behinds. Third, if a bar sets such a policy then employees are merely compliant.
Well put.

That being said, this bit from that Telegraph article makes a good point, too:

Quote:
"Furthermore, it risks alienating or worrying women who are at very low risk, while having a negligible impact on high-risk drinkers who ignored the previous guidelines anyway.

"And contrary to what appears to be widespread medical opinion - attempting to 'guilt-trip' women out of a harmless and pleasurable activity is not entirely ethically unproblematic, especially in the context of an already stressful time when they already feel besieged by demands to modify their behaviour."
I guess I figure if a woman willingly goes into a bar, she knows full well the risks she may be exposing herself and her unborn to, so once she's there it seems pointless to start lecturing her on the dangers of alcohol. I certainly wouldn't condone drinking to excess (which can vary from person to person, too, that's another thing to keep in mind), but I don't condone that whether you're pregnant or not. But if a woman went in and had a light glass on rare occasion, I don't see the harm. It certainly would help if the experts could get their story straight on what is and isn't harmful during pregnancies, too.

Angela
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Old 08-27-2010, 12:20 PM   #13
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Definitely an interesting discussion.


I was never a bartender, but I used to work in a convenience store and I used to sell cigarettes to pregnant women occasionally. They were regular customers, so I knew the ciggs were for them and not someone else. I almost felt bad, but these women were not nice women so I didn't give a shit what they did with their bodies or their babies.

I would think that a pregnant woman buying ciggs is worse than one buying a glass of wine.
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Old 08-27-2010, 07:34 PM   #14
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Press>>>Play

We were born to mothers who smoked and drank
Our cribs were covered in lead based paint
No child proof lids no seat belts in cars
Rode bikes with no helmets and still here we are, still here we are
We got daddy’s belt when we misbehaved
Had three TV channels you got up to change
No video games and no satellite
All we had were friends and they were outside, playin’ outside


It was a different life
When we were boys and girls
Not just a different time
It was a different world

School always started the same every day
The pledge of allegiance then someone would pray
Not every kid made the team when they tried
We got disappointed and that was all right, we turned out all right

No bottled water, we drank from a garden hose
And every Sunday, all the stores were closed


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Old 08-27-2010, 09:21 PM   #15
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"We don't serve their kind here!"
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