WHO Is Not Banning'Women of Childbearing Age' from Drinking Alcohol

Some reports distorted details from the UN agency's global action plan on handling dangerous use of alcohol.

WHO Is Not Banning'Women of Childbearing Age' from Drinking Alcohol

On June 15, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a initial draft report outlining its"Global Action Plan on Alcohol." The document called for"rapid action to reduce the harmful use of alcohol" and detailed the health impact of certain levels of alcohol intake on populations around the globe --not just girls.

However, rage-bait headlines printed by a number of sockets made it seem as if the WHO had proposed to prohibit women of childbearing age from drinking alcohol entirely. An Irish Article headline read,"World Health Organization would like to BAN all girls aged 18-50 from drinking alcohol." A Daily Mail headline said,"World Health Organization intend to stop women of child-bearing era from drinking alcohol could be'completely disproportionate', critics say"

Numerous outlets also described the language of the report as sexist.

These reports misrepresented the WHO report. Though the report does state,"proper attention should be given to [...] prevention of drinking among pregnant women and women of childbearing age," it meant in the context of raising awareness around excruciating harm. Reproductive age, according into the WHO, ranges from 15 to 50 years old.

The report didn't call for a specific ban on alcohol, nor could the WHO realistically implement such a ban. Instead, it suggests awareness-raising campaigns, like a"World no alcohol day/week" as one way to educate more people about potential harmful effects of alcohol.

Such steps, through the SAFER initiative contain policy suggestions such as restricting alcohol availability and banning alcohol advertising and advertisements. Component two of the report, which mentions women of childbearing age, concentrates on awareness-raising and advocacy, a far cry from prohibition.

In a announcement to Newsweek, WHO clarified:"The present draft of WHO's global action plan doesn't recommend abstinence of all women who are of an age where they might become pregnant. Nevertheless it does look to raise awareness of the serious consequences that can result from drinking alcohol while pregnant, even when the pregnancy is not yet known." WHO added that the report was a"first draft" and many rounds of consultations will take place before it is finalized and published.

Given that the language and aim of this report was misrepresented in headlines, and the WHO has denied recommending women abstain from drinking alcohol, '' rate this claim because"False."

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