Senate Resolution 220
Press Release
September 9, 2003


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski moved to fill a gap in the international observance of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Awareness Day by introducing a resolution (S. Res 220) which asks the President to designate Sept. 9th as National FAS Awareness Day.

"FAS is the single largest cause of mental retardation in Alaska, the United States and all of western civilization and it is one hundred percent preventable," said Murkowski. "The simple fact is that no amount of alcohol consumed during pregnancy has been established as safe for the fetus. If women do not drink alcohol, any alcohol, during their nine months of pregnancy; alcohol related birth defects would be eliminated."

International FAS Awareness Day was first observed on September 9, 1999. It began with a small group of adoptive and foster parents of children afflicted with FAS and Fetal Alcohol Effect (FAE) who came together on the Internet to ask this compelling question, "What if a world full of FAS and FAE parents all got together on the ninth hour of the ninth day of the ninth month of the year and asked the world to remember that during the nine months of pregnancy a woman should not consume alcohol?"

"The resolution, like the day itself, is intended to focus attention on the high cost of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders to our Nation and the ease of prevention," Murkowski noted. "At the same time the resolution asks that the American people treat those afflicted with these disorders with compassion and support."

Approximately 140 infants are born each year in Alaska who have been affected by maternal alcohol use during pregnancy, and Alaska Natives have a FAS rate of 4.8 per 1,000 live births. At least 5,000 infants are born each year in the U.S. with full FAS, or approximately one out of every 750 live births. More American babies are born with FAS than with Down Syndrome, MD, and HIV combined. Studies indicate that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders may affect one out of one hundred babies in North America, making alcohol the leading cause of brain damage today.

For more information about National FAS Awareness day go to:
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