Pregnant South Africans May Be Banned From Buying Booze

By Hunter R. Slaton 02/07/12

A proposed law would bar pregnant women—or anyone in school uniform—from buying alcohol.

The potential ban is already under fire. Photo via

In an effort to stamp out fetal alcohol syndrome, the legislature of the South African province of Gauteng—which includes the country’s capital Pretoria and its largest city, Johannesburg—released a draft bill for public comment yesterday that would bar pregnant women from buying booze. And that’s not all: According to the legislation, “A [liquor] licensee must not sell, supply or give liquor to (a) a minor; (b) a person who is dressed in a school uniform; (c) a person who appears to be intoxicated; or (d) a pregnant woman.” This lumping of moms-to-be into the same category as kids, drunks and school-uniform fetishists has predictably raised the ire of feminists and—perhaps unpredictably—of alcohol-safety advocates too. A blogger for New York–based mom blog The Stir writes: “To imply that pregnant women can't be trusted to make decisions for themselves and their babies is contemptible.” And the director of the South African Industry Association for Responsible Alcohol Use adds, ““While the intentions behind the legislation are good, it presents a difficulty for the seller: How do they know if a woman is pregnant?” That’s potentially an even more nerve-wracking judgment call than whether or not to give up your subway seat to a maybe-mom-to-be.

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Hunter Slaton is the esports managing editor for Blizzard Entertainment. You can find hunter on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.