The World Health Organization is not trying to ban women aged 18 to 50 from consuming alcohol


A global action plan on alcohol use compiled by the World Health Organization has come under fire after some believed that the health authority was effectively trying to ban alcohol consumption among women “of childbearing age”.

“The World Health Organization wants to ban all women aged 18 to 50 from consuming alcohol,” read the headline of an article in the Irish Post on June 17th. The WHO defines the “reproductive age” as 15-49.

This is a distortion of the purpose of the report. She pleaded for greater awareness of alcohol consumption by pregnant women and women of childbearing age as well as other groups, but did not propose a strict alcohol ban and was unable to enforce it.

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The WHO published the first draft of the report on June 15, entitled “Global Alcohol Action Plan 2022-2030”. The campaign aims to help reduce the harmful effects of certain alcohol consumption around the world.

The report mentions pregnancy and women of childbearing age only once and is related to raising awareness of alcohol-related issues:

Adequate attention should be given to the prevention of alcohol use in children and adolescents, the prevention of alcohol use in pregnant women and women of childbearing potential, and the protection of people from drinking pressure, particularly in high alcohol societies where heavy drinkers are encouraged to do even more drink.

It also notes, “One of the most dramatic manifestations of harm to anyone other than drinkers is prenatal alcohol exposure and the development of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.”

WHO released a statement to the fact-checking organization Full Fact to clarify the report, in which it said its goal was to raise awareness of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, even when the pregnancy is unknown.

“The current draft of the WHO Global Plan of Action does not recommend abstinence for all women who are of an age at which they could become pregnant,” the statement said. “However, the aim is to raise awareness of the serious consequences that alcohol consumption can have during pregnancy, even if the pregnancy is not yet known.”

The report encompasses other groups, such as children and young people, and identifies eight areas of action and aims to raise awareness of alcohol-related issues, with proposed initiatives such as a “World Alcohol Free Day / Week” to focus and increase public attention .

An article headline states that the WHO is trying to ban all women between the ages of 18 and 50 from consuming alcohol.

This is an exaggeration of the WHO draft report. The report suggested that more monitoring of alcohol consumption in some women should be done because of the harmful effects it has on the fetus. However, the organization did not suggest that women be completely banned from drinking alcohol between this age, nor could it enforce such a ban.

We rate this claim as False.

This article was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It will be republished here with permission. Check out the sources for these fact checks here and more fact checks here.

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