28 Aug 2014 Public awareness campaigns focussed on pregnancy and drinking expose a cognitive dissonance in our society.
If you live in Ontario and enjoy a bottle of wine with dinner or a couple beers after getting the yard work finished, you will be exposed to an aggressive marketing campaign the next time you hit the local LCBO to purchase your booze. The government-owned liquor distribution branch launched an advertising blitz this week with a goal of educating consumers about the dangers of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). In addition to installing a series of captivating posters at their approximately 640 stores and outlets, LCBO staff will also be required to watch a video designed to educate them as to the complications with FAS and other disorders related to drinking while pregnant.
Suffice it to say, this is an expensive awareness campaign. But the financial implications are not the troubling aspect. Indeed, most people would easily justify the use of tax dollars to ensure babies have as healthy a start to life as possible.
My full-time job is to advocate for the very children this campaign is drawing attention to. So when I heard about this campaign, the realization quickly set in that something doesn’t jive here. On the one hand we (society and government) are concerned about the health of a developing child in the womb, and on the other we allow them to be aborted for reasons as flippant as inopportune timing.
Don’t get me wrong, prenatal health is very important, but why the double standard? When some Canadians call for the legal protection of fetuses they are accused of meddling with a woman’s rights and infringing on her bodily autonomy, but should that same woman choose to drink while pregnant she is condemned as negligent.
The provincial government in Ontario, which operates the LCBO, will no doubt be investing millions of dollars in this FAS campaign to ensure that every preborn baby has a healthy start to life outside the womb. The campaign is designed to make society generally and pregnant women specifically to think carefully before drinking while pregnant. Meanwhile, that same government is spending similar amounts of money every year to pay for the abortion of one in four pre-born babies. For 25% of Ontario babies, their “healthy start” comes to a very quick and violent end.
Public awareness campaigns focused on pregnancy and drinking expose a cognitive dissonance in our society. You want to kill your baby before birth? No problem. We’ll even pay for it. But don’t you dare have a glass of wine while pregnant! And if you do, we’ll shame you with a million dollar advertising blitz.
This alcohol and pregnancy awareness campaign, when compared with Canada’s lack of any legal protection for children in the womb, makes absolutely no sense. Canada’s shame of being the only Western nation without an abortion law is untenable and totally inconsistent with what science teaches about the most vulnerable members of the human family. Thankfully, with advances in medicine and treatment, babies born with FAS can still lead a productive life. Unfortunately this does not hold true for aborted babies.
Prior to seeing the plethora of ads in the coming weeks, a pregnant woman may have been unaware of the serious complications that drinking while pregnant could have on her pre-born child. For this reason alone, the LCBO campaign is a good one. It is high time that society is also made aware of what abortion does to pre-born children. Only then will the cognitive dissonance finally resolve. Only then will human rights finally apply to all human beings.