If you’ve ever wondered what harm could come from letting animal-rights activists play doctor, pay attention. At least one deceptive anti-meat group is encouraging pregnant women to go vegan, despite new evidence that it could increase their babies’ risk of serious birth defects.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), as we’ve been pointing out for some time, is a save-the-chickens activist group whose actual physician membership is less than four percent. You may know PCRM from its efforts to convince Americans that going vegan will bring health benefits including cancer prevention, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. But PCRM’s latest promise to vegan moms-to-be is a future health payoff they may never collect.

According to a study in this month’s issue of the journal Pediatrics, women with low levels of vitamin B12 (an essential vitamin found in meat, eggs, and milk) when they become pregnant are at greater risk of having a child with potentially fatal birth defects.

How did PCRM react to this news? It put out a press release titled: Doctors endorse vegan and vegetarian diets for healthy pregnancies:

“Women who follow vegan diets not only have healthy pregnancies, they are often healthier than moms who consume meat,” says Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., staff dietitian with PCRM.

Sure — the moms might be healthy. But it’s their babies who could wind up with birth defects.

We’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: Eliminating animal protein from your diet is a lifestyle choice and, for adults, it’s just as legitimate as a meat-heavy diet. You can be a vegetarian, a Unitarian, or Libertarian, and that’s okay. If you’re a grown-up, it’s your choice.

But countless activist campaigns have encouraged us to "think of the children" — including several campaigns from PCRM. Would it be too much to ask the group of faux mainstream medical experts to follow their own laughable advice, just once?