CDC Tells Women To Stop Drinking Unless They’re Using Birth Control Because We’re All Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise
On Tuesday the CDC announced its recommendation that all women of childbearing age abstain from drinking alcohol unless they are using birth control, and after staring at the recommendation for the better part of a day, I’m starting to believe that they’re actually not kidding. When I first heard the news, I thought that perhaps it was a cunning plan on the part of the CDC to get the food and beverage industry in the U.S. to start lobbying for cheap and easy access to contraception for all women. Increased access to contraception would probably dramatically decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies and reduce fetal alcohol syndrome rates, after all.
But no. Instead, the CDC decided that since we’re all basically pregnant until proven otherwise, it should trot out the tired old, “Why take the risk?” argument that accompanies basically everything a pregnant woman does, from drinking to crossing the street to using sunscreen to not using sunscreen to, well, everything.
“About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned,” Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat, MD, said in the report. “Even if planned, most women won’t know they are pregnant for the first month or so, when they might still be drinking. The risk is real. Why take the chance?”
I never thought I’d have a reason to side-eye the CDC before.
A lot of women get pregnant by accident and a lot of women don’t know that they’re pregnant at the very beginning stages, so to protect Schrodinger’s Fetus, the CDC says we should all abstain from alcohol just in case.
For some reason this news makes me want a whole bunch of cocktails. I’m not pregnant, just annoyed and feeling contrary. Preventing fetal alcohol syndrome is a laudable goal, but the CDC seems to have really overshot the mark this time by telling all fertile women to abstain from alcohol just in case they might become pregnant. And in this environment, just how long is it going to take for some lawmaker to decide to legislate this? I don’t think he’ll actually succeed, but $20 (in pretend Internet dollars) says by the end of the year someone tries.
In related news, studies have shown that alcohol consumption reduces sperm quality.