We have often discussed how controversial views or positions are often expressed in terms of discrimination as opposed to good-faith disagreements. A case in point is found in a debate over the consumption of alcohol by pregnant women. The view of the medical profession has certainly changed where some doctors are suggesting that moderate alcohol consumption might not be harmful to a baby. However, when Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, stated that the rule against any alcohol consumption was still advised, she was denounced as “sexist” and “alarmist.”
Dr Ellie Lee, Director of the Centre of Parenting Culture Studies at the University of Kent, is quoted as saying that the “exclusion of women from an ordinary activity on the basis of a precaution” was “sexist”.
There is a fair basis for this debate on both sides but I fail to see how advocating a highly protective rule is sexist. Many women believe that they should not put anything in their bodies that they do not want shared with their baby during pregnancy. Obviously, people will disagree with any number of practices by parents. However, to call it “stigmatising” of women ignores the public health concerns underlying the position.