05/10/2016 03:03 EDT | Updated 04/24/2019 12:45 EDT

Drinking While Pregnant: NYC Bars Can No Longer Refuse To Serve Expectant Moms

“We’re talking about women being able to make decisions for themselves.”

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Close Up Of Pregnant Woman Drinking Red Wine

It is often touted that drinking alcohol while pregnant has countless negative effects. Despite this, New York City bars can no longer refuse an expectant mom a drink thanks to new guidelines.

On Friday, the city's Human Rights Commission released new rules to protect pregnant moms from discrimination in the workplace and in public.

"Judgments and stereotypes about how pregnant individuals should behave, their physical capabilities and what is or is not healthy for a fetus are pervasive in our society and cannot be used as pretext for unlawful discriminatory decisions in employment, housing, and public accommodations," the new terms read.

According to the Human Rights Commission, these new guidelines have been put in place to prevent pregnant women from being singled out.

The Associated Press notes that in the past, expectant moms have felt awkward asking for an alcoholic beverage, regardless of whether or not they were denied service. In fact, in one instance – which is currently being investigated – a pregnant woman was denied entry into a bar altogether.

Special Counsel Dana Sussman, of the Human Rights Commission, told CBS New York that her agency is also investigating a few cases.

"You can see a slippery slope here," she said. "We're talking about women being able to make decisions for themselves."

While New York City bars and restaurants can no longer deny entry or alcoholic beverages to pregnant women, they are still required to post warnings about the effects of drinking on unborn fetuses.

Since the new guidelines were released last week, many people have taken to Twitter to share their views on the matter.

Others also asked an important question: who will be held accountable if the woman's baby is born with birth defects due to drinking?

Despite the debate over New York City's new guidelines, the American Academy of Pediatrics warns that women shouldn't drink during pregnancy. This is because alcohol consumption can lead to things like fetal alcohol syndrome, miscarriage, birth defects, brain damage and stillbirths.

In Canada, bars and restaurants have the right to set any rules they want regarding alcohol, though many provinces have laws regarding signage about the risks that must be posted. However, denying a pregnant woman a drink infringes on her right to equal service and can result in a lawsuit.


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