Stamp out the stigma of birth mothers of children with FASD
This petition had 245 supporters
I pledge to work to Stamp out the stigma of birth mothers of children with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders). I join NOFAS and the NOFAS Circle of Hope in supporting this campaign, and I believe:
1. Blaming and shaming birth mothers of children with FASD serves only to stigmatize women and their families and does not help to prevent FASD. Having the courage to speak out as a birth mother and share one’s story takes courage and DOES help to prevent FASD.
2. Women who drink alcohol during pregnancy and have a child with FASD nearly always fall into three categories:
- They suffer from the disease of alcoholism and are unable stop drinking alcohol on their own
- They are not aware that they are pregnant
- They are unaware or are misinformed about the risks of alcohol to their unborn baby
3. The stigma of birth mothers increases society’s indifference to FASD and is a major barrier to helping individuals living with the disorders.
4. Women who use alcohol during pregnancy should be provided with appropriate medical intervention, support, and resources to recover from the disease of alcoholism.
5. When writing or talking about individuals living with FASD, people-first language should be used, placing the person before the disability.
6. When writing or talking about FASD, language describing the biological basis of FASD should be used (FASD is associated with prenatal alcohol exposure) instead of language describing a behavioral basis (FASD is associated with a woman’s consumption of alcohol during pregnancy).
7. The NOFAS Circle of Hope peer-mentoring program exists to help women cope with their grief and remorse. Empowerment and support helps keep moms sober and helps to prevent FASD.
8. Healthcare professionals are vital to FASD prevention and ending the stigmatization of birth mothers. They should ask female patients about their alcohol use in an open and non-judgmental manner.
9. Incarcerating women does not prevent FASD. It increases stigma, ignores the possible lack of early awareness of pregnancy, and can prevent appropriate treatment for alcoholism and addiction.
10. Biological, adoptive, and foster parents, caregivers, and everyone can be part of the FASD solution by learning about the disease of alcoholism and addiction, listening to the personal stories of birth mothers, and supporting the mission of the NOFAS Circle of Hope.
Visit www.nofas.org/stigma for more information.
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