There have been a lot of stories in the media lately about a controversial press release from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on February 2, 2016 titled, “More than 3 million US women at risk for alcohol-exposed pregnancy”. It seems as though the press release was meant as a reminder to women of child-bearing age that drinking any alcohol while pregnant, or while trying to become pregnant, put your fetus at risk for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).

That is not the lesson that most women took away from this press release, however. Most headlines written about the press release read something like:

Telling Sexually Active Women to Abstain From Alcohol Is Unrealistic and Ineffective

The CDC Released A Super Condescending Health Warning For Women

The CDC Suggests Women Stop Drinking or Having Sex, Because Shaming Women Is Cool

Non-Pregnant Women Now Guilted For Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Or a more mild version of the above: The CDC did a bad job of telling women the risks of alcohol and pregnancy

The problem lies within these two lines:

  1. An estimated 3.3 million women between the ages of 15 and 44 years are at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol because they are drinking, sexually active, and not using birth control to prevent pregnancy…
  2. Overall, 3.3 million US women (7.3 percent of women ages 15–44 who were having sex, who were non-pregnant and non-sterile) were at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol if they were to become pregnant.

When you add “IF” to a conversation about a woman being pregnant, you open up a whole other can of worms. Women are not incubators, broodmares, or walking wombs, and as such should not be reduced merely to their potential to bear children. I think most people will agree that, regardless of the lack of research available (apparently it isn’t super duper ethical to on purpose expose a bunch of embryos to alcohol to see how much it affects their development), it isn’t a great idea to consume alcohol, especially not in excess, while pregnant. And I’ll even give them the trying to become pregnant part, as well. But to tell all women between 15 and 44, who consume alcohol, are sexually active and don’t use birth control, that they should just, you know…not ever drink, on the OFF-CHANCE they become pregnant…I mean, come on. Who says that all of those accidental pregnancies will even be carried to term? Not everyone wants children, and not everyone wants to put their bodies through the physical strain of childbirth, yo.

I understand where the CDC is coming from. It’s actually probably really frustrating trying to keep ‘babies’ safe from a disease that you can’t research, because you can’t recreate the conditions without damaging even more fetuses…fetusi. No, I checked, it’s fetuses. That being said, the CDC needs to cool their jets, and run their wording by a few more women in their office before accidentally telling all pre-menopausal women who aren’t on birth control to stop drinking. Because again, 3.3 million is a lot of women. I wouldn’t want that many women, hell, that many people, angry with me.

Related Posts

Author: Jess Leonard

It's me, Jess! Seen here with Husband, and one of our pooches, Ainsley. I'm 27-years-old, beyond ready for babies, and super broke. Join me on this insane journey of figuring out how to live the lives we want as baby crazy, but heavily indebted millennials. Fun facts about me: I grew up in Southern California, near Coachella, I looooove jamming on my planner (I use a MAMBI Happy Planner), and my spirit animal is Leslie Knope.

Subscribe to BCAB

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *