To the editor:
Every year on Sept. 9, International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day is observed. Proclamations are issued in counties, states, provinces and towns all around the world. Bells are rung at 9:09 a.m. in every time zone from New Zealand to Alaska. People all around the world gather for events to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy and the plight of individuals and families who struggle with FASD. In addition to such proclamations, the U.S. Surgeon General warns that women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the severe risk of birth defects.
The first FASD Day was celebrated on Sept. 9, 1999. This day was chosen so that on the ninth day of the ninth month of the year, the world will remember that during the nine months of pregnancy, a woman should abstain from alcohol.
FASDs are the leading cause of mental retardation in the United States and contribute to learning disabilities, mental illness, juvenile delinquency, school dropouts, homelessness, crime and unemployment. Furthermore, studies have also shown that the use of alcohol by fathers contributes to such things as low birth weight.
Therefore, we of the Juniata County Women's Christian Temperance Union urge all mothers expecting babies or couples trying to conceive to abstain from the use of alcohol during this important time in the development of their families. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome disorders are 100 percent preventable.
Rosalita J. Leonard