New Guidelines Stress Pregnant Women's Right to Order Alcohol in New York City

VIDEO: New NYC Guidelines Let Pregnant Women Order AlcoholPlayABCNews.com
WATCH New Guidelines Stress Pregnant Women's Right to Order Alcohol in New York City

Mixing pregnancy and booze is a controversial topic.

Many doctors recommend that women steer clear of alcohol for the entire nine months of pregnancy, but New York City’s Human Rights Commission is now weighing in with a caveat.

New guidelines unveiled last week say that bars cannot refuse to serve pregnant women alcohol, arguing that such treatment is discriminatory.

“Pregnant women should be allowed to enter any place of accommodation in New York City that a non-pregnant woman should be able to enter,” Carmelyn Malalis, commissioner and chairwoman of the city Commission on Human Rights, told ABC News.

It’s all part of a larger effort to enhance and protect the rights of pregnant women, particularly in the workplace.

“The law that these guidelines are based on was really focused on making sure that women are able to stay in the workplace and not be forced to miss out on economic opportunities,” Malalis said.

Cases that prompted the new guidelines include a pregnant woman’s being denied access to a bar that her two non-pregnant friends were allowed to enter because of her bump, and another where a pregnant woman was denied access to a concert venue because of her pregnancy.

But many people are up in arms about the new guidelines, speaking out on message boards.

“If a woman has to drink while she is pregnant, she is not fit to be a parent,” one critic wrote.

“NYC has become a joke,” wrote another.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns against drinking while pregnant, noting in guidelines earlier this year that no amount of alcohol during pregnancy, no matter how small, is advisable.

And 18 states consider the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy the equivalent of child abuse.