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States differ toward pregnancy, alcohol use.

States differ widely on how they treat women who drink alcohol while pregnant, and states with few elected women legislators tend to have tougher sanctions for pregnant women who abuse alcohol, according to a recent study.

While using alcohol during pregnancy can have devastating effects on a developing baby, the study suggested that incarcerating pregnant women who drink can actually hurt mothers and their babies.

"Not only is jail an amazingly severe reaction to alcohol abuse during pregnancy, but substance abuse treatment programs and prenatal care are almost non-existent in these facilities," said Sue Thomas, PhD, the study's lead author and a policy researcher at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. "While few question the serious consequences of alcohol abuse on fetuses, the best way of avoiding them is to provide treatment for the pregnant women rather than lock them up."

The study appears in the fall 2006 issue of UCLA Women's Law Journal.
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Title Annotation:STATES IN BRIEF
Author:Arias, Donya C.
Publication:The Nation's Health
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2007
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