CDC Says Women Shouldn’t Drink Unless They’re On Birth Control

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  • It’s always disappointing when someone has an important message and accidentally finds the worst way to get it across.

    The Center for Disease Control recently released a warning about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which can result in low birth weight, organ damage and learning disabilities. Their article urges women not to drink while pregnant and to seek professional help if they drink too much, which is valuable advice – but it crosses the line to preachy and condescending when it implies that women should stop drinking altogether if there’s any chance they can get pregnant.

    ”About half of all US pregnancies are unplanned and, even if planned, most women do not know they are pregnant until they are 4-6 weeks into the pregnancy. This means a woman might be drinking and exposing her developing baby to alcohol without knowing it. […] It is recommended that women who are pregnant or might be pregnant not drink alcohol at all.”

    I’ll extend the benefit of the doubt to the CDC and say they were referring to women who are actively trying to get pregnant, not any woman who might accidentally get knocked up – but then the article goes on to say women of “child-bearing age” shouldn’t drink at all unless they’ve taken their birth control. As if condoms don’t exist, or women are so air-headed that they immediately forget to use condoms if they’re the slightest bit tipsy.

    Even worse, there’s an infographic warning that alcohol use “for any woman” could cause injuries and violence – not the person who is abusing her, but the woman drinking alcohol. Never a good move.

    The resulting online uproar has effectively drowned out what the CDC was really trying to say and made them seem paternalistic and out of touch.