According to the CDC, women just can’t have it all, and by "all," they’re talking wine and sex. Our bodies might serve as incubators for another human being someday, and if the CDC had its way, women would show proof of their date of birth as well as birth control prescription when your buying booze. They recommend that in order to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome, all women of childbearing age avoid alcohol if they are sexually active but not on contraceptives.
CDC Principal Deputy Director Anne Schuchat said, “About half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and 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?”
The study is still incredibly rudimentary and explicitly states in the first bullet that the number of FAS cases is not known. However, the findings so far are incredibly miniscule. The most recent CDC study "analyzed medical and other records and found FAS in 0.3 out of 1,000 children from 7 to 9 years of age." This equals out to less than one percent of children in the US. In fact, it's one child out of about 3,300. So clearly, 100% of fertile women should quit drinking unless they want to run the risk of potentially harming their bodies with birth control in the chance they want this imaginary baby.
Alcohol use, according to the CDC, is considered having at least one drink per month, and having four drinks or more drinks on one occasion is labeled as binge drinking.
According to the CDC, “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, according to the latest CDC Vital Signs report released today.”
The CDC is quite presumptuous in assuming that all fertile women want children in the first place. This also does not take into account the women who, for whatever reason, can't or do not want to be on birth control. The suggestion is more than a little insensitive and inconsiderate when considering the two options they give is to not drink and not take the pill if sexually active, or take the pill and drink. While the study shows the percentage of children whose health is negatively affected by alcohol, it fails to show the percentage of negative health effects women experience when taking the pill. In 2013, the CDC did, however, release a study that showed that “63% of pill users, 74% of Depo-Provera users, and 45% of contraceptive patch users who discontinue use specifically cited side effects as their reason for stopping.” Many forms of contraception are know to increase blood clotting, which can eventually lead to death, as well as an increase chances of breast, cervical and liver cancer, according to cancer.gov.
So, sorry, CDC, but we're going to drink and we're going to have sex — with or without hormonal birth control. Actually, we're not sorry at all.
Courtney Bissonette is a New York based writer and improv comedienne. She writes primarily about movies, pop cultures and feminist heroes. She gets along best with old people. She has seen more old movies than your grandma, probably. Salt from Salt n Pepa once took her Trick'r Treating. You can follow her on instagram at @gddamnitcourtney or twitter @courttette