May 21, 2019
Kristine Menas, 26, (left) and her sister, Courtney Menas, stand by their cocktails at Funky Buddha in Chicago, Illinois. Ten years after the date-rape drugs came onto the clubbing scene, women are drinking with more caution. DAVID ZENTZ/CHICAGO TRIBUNE/TNS

The CDC’s sexist advisory

Women are now asked to live on some form of birth control from the time they are 21 until they encounter menopause because they hold the capacity to possibly give birth. Is this a dystopian novel?

No. It is the latest report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last week, the CDC released an advisory suggesting that women stop drinking unless they are on birth control.

The reasoning is that women “are at risk of exposing their developing baby to alcohol because they are drinking, sexually active and not using birth control to prevent pregnancy.”

While that sounds like it is benefiting women, it actually is not. This is one more attack on women’s right to their own bodies.

Disguised as a health precaution, women are told that if they drink, they will literally kill babies. How afraid of their bodies do women have to be? When do women stop being autonomous and start being only bodies for breeding?

Apparently, it is the moment that they put a drink in their hand. Because, you know, when women drink, they are wild, promiscuous and incapable of putting on a condom. Which, by the way, is the responsibility of both partners.

We’re so excited that our body’s capability to give birth dictates what we should or should not do with our body.

We cannot even have a drink without some form of censure from a government entity. Our behaviors are our choices. Just like the choice to have a glass of red or white wine, we make the decision of what goes into our bodies. But this society is not one who likes to admit that women have the right to say “yes” to what goes into their bodies – be it a gin and tonic, a baby or even a penis.

Women have the right to choose whether they use birth control and what form of birth control they use. When the CDC asks women to abstain from having a drink because they could possibly become pregnant, it is assuming that women will not use condoms, the Plan B pill or get an abortion.  

It assumes that women are not responsible enough to care for their bodies.

If you want to lower the rates of fetal alcohol syndrome, educate people on it. Asking us to abstain from behaviors does not teach us about the risks and dangers of drinking while pregnant.

If there is one thing that we have learned from abstinence-only education in any form – it is that is does not work. People respond better to logic, education and reason. So, CDC, please, send out advisories about the dangers of drinking while pregnant. Take a different approach.

In the same report, the CDC said that consuming alcoholic beverages makes women more susceptible to violence, injuries and sexually transmitted infections. That is funny. Doesn’t it do the same thing to men? Where is their advisory? Does it not exist for them because they do not carry children?

The CDC just participated in victim-blaming. Women who drink are more likely to have sexual violence committed against them so they should stop drinking.

Or, there is this new radical idea that people shouldn’t rape or harass each other – no matter what women are consuming.

This form of sexist censure needs to stop.

Women are more than their capacity to breed. Women are more than the violence committed against them.

Women deserve a beer if they want a beer.


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