The mention of fetal alcohol syndrome (in class and briefly in the book) broke my heart and especially resounded with me because my family has opened up our home to foster children, many of whom are affected by FAS. The choice to impair a child within the womb is not a typical one to make, but unfortunately, there are many cases in which families, specifically women as they carry the child(ren), affect their children so profoundly with the use of alcohol that the effects last a lifetime.
In professor Koenig's first lecture, she showed a video that talks about how alcohol affects the ventricles in the brain: these holes are much larger in children whose mothers use alcohol than those whose mothers do not. Also discussed was how the brain density is smaller and cell groups are in the wrong place for these children. The effect of alcohol leads to children with FAS having symptoms like facial malformations, physical growth retardation, learning and behavioral disabilities that can all impair their progress within society. My own adopted brother is one of these children; it's been upsetting to watch the ways in which he does not get a chance to live life to the fullest because he cannot function normally within society. His brain does not work normally because he is literally not all there; of course, despite the ways in which he might not "be all there," he is for my family because that is how we have always known and loved him.
The choice to improve a child's life is one that will always be necessary in order to create improvements within civilization. That is why steps to educate men and women on prenatal development and teratogens like alcohol is especially important if the world is to continue the advancements it is making and better opportunities for all.
Typical facial characteristics of a child affected with fetal alcohol syndrome as a previously mentioned symptom from http://www.nsnet.org/nsfas/symptoms.html