Your Ugh of the Day: CDC Recommends All Women of Childbearing Age Quit Drinking

Home News & Politics Your Ugh of the Day: CDC Recommends All Women of Childbearing Age Quit Drinking


*Women: This is your daily reminder that your body is not your own. xoxo*

The CDC announced this week that all women of childbearing age not on birth control should stop drinking altogether because of the risk of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Gay? Asexual? Abstinent? Would abort the fetus if you got pregnant? Doesn’t matter. Stop drinking, you slutty alcoholic incubators.

This new recommendation is insulting, condescending, paternalistic bullshit. This is an area in which the CDC is very experienced. A decade ago, the CDC recommended doctors start treating all women of childbearing age as pre-pregnant. They experienced a righteous feminist backlash from that recommendation, and yet,  ten years later, the CDC continues to reduce women to nothing more than potential baby-makers. According to the Huffington Post, the CDC continues to classify any childbearing-aged woman as pre-pregnant: ” ‘We definitely didn’t make any recommendations for women who are pre-pregnant,’ said Lela McKnight-Eily, an epidemiologist, and clinical psychologist on the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Prevention Team at the CDC. Dr. McKnight-Eily, you say you didn’t make that recommendation, but I’m looking at the infographic you released, and it’s saying you are a liar. 

This helpful suggestion not to drink in the event you get pregnant is heteronormative. It is for “all women of childbearing age,” erasing lesbians and trans women the way most government guidelines do. As a dyke, when I see recommendations like this, the message I receive is I am not a real woman. I’m not on birth control (my preferred method of birth control is gay sex), so does that mean I can drink? According to the CDC, nope! These guidelines do not account for folks with uteruses who don’t have PIV sex, are infertile, are not interested in parenthood, and/or don’t have sex with men.

Check out the CDC’s handy infographic below on why you shouldn’t drink at all if you are a woman.The CDC claims that any woman drinking risks, among other scary things, “unintended pregnancy.” I had no idea a bottle of wine could impregnate me, so I am definitely going to start putting condoms on my wine glasses. Notice that there are no guidelines for men about drinking. The responsibility to keep our precious potential babies safe is purely the responsibility of women, at least according to the CDC. Men can get drunk but we need to avoid alcohol in case there is a budding fetus in our uteruses? We are at risk of heart, disease, cancer, STDs, injury/violence from drinking, but men are not?

Look, I am not against babies. In fact, I love babies (plus, I used to be one!) and spend a lot of time with my dear nephews. I am not dismissing the real risks of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and I definitely support efforts to reduce its prevalence. But I am against the policing of women’s bodies. I will not be reduced to my reproductive organs. I refuse to be treated by doctors or the government as “pre-pregnant.” If I decide to have a baby, I’ll let my doctor know. For now, I’m going to polish off this bottle of hard cider. It’s been a hassle drinking it through the condom, but I really don’t want to get pregnant right now.