Why I Don't Agree With The New CDC Report On Alcohol

I’m a woman who likes her whiskey. While some girls want an 8-carat diamond, I would prefer a bottle of Macallan M (although a diamond would be nice too). I’m also a woman who enjoys having the freedom to do some stuff, like casually drink. To me, and many other women around the country, the newly-released CDC report regarding drinking is an outrage. In summary, the report chastises women for being irresponsible with alcohol by drinking while not on birth control. Huh?

According to the recently-released CDC report, “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.” Along with their controversial report, they released a fun little graphic explaining to doctors how to advise women to not drink. Some of the tips for doctors include “assess a woman’s drinking: provide counseling to women who are drinking too much,” and “advise a woman to stop drinking if she is trying to get pregnant or not using birth control with sex.”

Apparently, the CDC forgot that women are knowledgeable about many methods of birth control...you know, like condoms or an implant. The use of birth control methods is drilled into young women (and men’s) heads at an alarmingly young age. The mantra basically goes: “use a condom, or you’re gonna get pregnant AND you’re gonna get herpes.” Also, most women don’t want to get pregnant by a man they don’t want to concieve with, and use at least some form of birth control.

 

Although, if a woman makes the choice to not use any birth control at all, then that’s her damn choice. That doesn’t mean she should stop drinking, it just means that she should be careful while also having fun!

So Ashley, what you’re trying to tell me is that I shouldn’t let the CDC influence how I treat my body in regards to casual drinking and my reproductive health? Yeah! Shocking, really!

Don’t get me wrong, I agree that fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are horrible, and no child should have to go through the pain of these conditions. But, shockingly enough, many women stop drinking as soon as they find out that they’re pregnant. There’s this newfangled concept that most women care about the human bean they’re growing in their uterus for 9 months, and will do everything to protect their child while they develop. While there are a small number of women who have reported drinking while pregnant, they do not represent the majority. Certainly not reason enough for a doctor to advise every woman who crosses their path not to drink if they aren’t taking birth control.

While I believe women should definitely be careful with who they have sex with if they aren’t planning on conceiving and aren’t using any birth control methods, I don’t agree with is the CDC telling women (and telling their doctors to tell women) that they shouldn’t be drinking if they aren’t on birth control. Some women don’t like how birth control affects their bodies, some don’t have the money, and some just plain don’t want to take it. Some women are allergic to the latex in condoms, and don’t have hypoallergenic condoms readily available. Some women just don’t want to use any birth control method other than the pull-out method. Those are their choices, and they shouldn’t feel shamed by their doctors, the government, or anyone else for their personal decisions about their reproductive health.

Another interesting little tidbit of information: birth control and alcohol sometimes don’t mix well in a woman’s system. “Alcohol tends to leave the body at a slower rate in women who take oral contraceptives than in women who do not. As a result, when a woman who is on the pill drinks, she may feel intoxicated sooner.” Most women will be able to take birth control and moderately drink without there being a problem. But some women have a more sensitive system! So sure, ladies: harm your liver, but goD FORBID YOU DON’T TAKE BIRTH CONTROL, YOU HARLOT.

Yeah, pretty dumb, right?

So honey, you go have that glass of wine with your dinner, you deserve it. Have that glass of whiskey at the bar, have that beer. Contrary to popular belief, moderate drinking isn’t going to kill you or make you a bad person. Your body is your temple, not anyone else’s: treat it how you want to treat it.