"There are 300,000 babies born deformed every year in this country because of women who are alcoholics while they're carrying those children to term."

Joe Biden on Wednesday, September 26th, 2007 in Hanover, N.H.


Biden way off on alcohol-related birth defects

Biden said he wouldn't consider changing the drinking age from 21 to 18 because of the negative effects of alcohol. As evidence, he said 300,000 babies suffer birth defects each year because their mothers are alcoholics.

Problem is, that number is way off. The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome states that about 40,000 children are born each year suffering from Fetal Alchol Spectrum Disorders, which includes birth defects, but also conditions such as learning disabilities or poor motor skills. The group says that number is more than Spina Bifida, Down Syndrome and Muscular Dystrophy combined, but it's still quite a way from 300,000.

As for birth defects alone, the Surgeon General says that alcohol-related birth defects affect between .5 and 2 infants per 1,000 births. That comes to between about 2,100 and 8,300 cases a year, given current birth rates.



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