The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recent warning about pregnant women and alcohol – which ran on the ISHN website on Wednesday -- has sparked intense criticism from people who say the agency went over the line.
In an attempt to warn women who may become pregnant about the dangers of fetal alcohol syndrome, the article in the latest CDC Vital Signs report estimated that 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.”
Washington Post commentator Alexandra Petri found that offensive.
"You never know when pregnancy might strike!"
“No alcohol for you, young women!” she wrote, in a piece entitled, The CDC’s incredibly condescending warning to young women.
“The most important fact about you is not that you are people but that you might potentially contain people one day. After all, pregnancies are often unplanned, so now it’s not just women who are trying to become pregnant but women who aren’t who need to lay off the alcohol, because “You never know when pregnancy might strike!” and “Think of the children!
The CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat said the agency is urging women and their partners to be supportive of the idea of not drinking for a while if they’re thinking of getting pregnant.
Stretching the responsibility?
In Protect Your Womb From the Devil Drink, the Atlantic said the CDC’s advice “is stretching the responsibility of preventing fetal alcohol syndrome onto women who are not yet pregnant.”
The Vital Signs report found that 3 in 4 women who want to get pregnant as soon as possible do not stop drinking alcohol when they stop using birth control.
There is no known safe amount of alcohol – even beer or wine – that is safe for a woman to drink at any stage of pregnancy,” said the CDC. “Alcohol use during pregnancy, even within the first few weeks and before a woman knows she is pregnant, can cause lasting physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities that can last for a child’s lifetime.”