The CDC Owes All Women an Apology

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The CDC suggests all women should drink less to avoid injuries/violence, STDs, and unintended pregnancy, among other things. In this infographic, the CDC has suggested that women’s bodies are only important as incubators for fetuses, that women are to blame for any violence that happens to us while we’re drinking, and that drinking can cause STDs.

I don’t think I need to tell you drinking does not cause STDs. Let’s just move on to the rest of the problems with these suggestions.

The CDC says about half of pregnancies in the US are unintended. As a result, they recommend all women of reproductive age prepare our bodies for pregnancy by doing things like quitting smoking, abstaining from alcohol, and taking folic acid.

Are you kidding me?! Ok, so quitting smoking is a great idea, and drinking too much can be a problem, but the CDC makes these recommendations not for the health of women, but for the health of a fetus we may or may not want to carry to term.

And let’s not forget our LGBT friends. The CDC fails to recognize the fact that all women who have sex are not at risk of becoming pregnant. Women who have sex with women do not need birth control. And trans women do not need to worry about unintended pregnancy.

The point is, not all women who have sex are at risk of becoming pregnant without birth control. And for those of us who are, I think we should focus on increasing access to birth control rather than telling women not to drink while we quietly defund every social program designed to reduce unwanted pregnancies.

Injuries and violence do not happen as a result of the victim’s drinking. Period. Do not even try to make that argument with me. Trans women are at risk of violence every day, whether they drink or not. And any woman can be a victim of domestic violence – even when she’s sober. If someone attacks a woman while she is drinking or under the influence, it is not her fault. The CDC should recommend individuals with a tendency for violence not drink, rather than telling those who might be victims it is our responsibility to prevent attacks.

Women – your health should be a priority because YOU matter – not because of the CDCs obsession with your uterus (if you have one). What we need are programs that put our health and safety first. We need increased access to trans wellness programs and reproductive healthcare. And we need to be providing comprehensive sex education, based on facts, that acknowledges we are not at fault for the actions of others.

If the problem is that unintended pregnancies are more common than we’d like, and most women don’t know they’re pregnant until 4-6 weeks into the pregnancy, this is not an indication that women everywhere should live life as if they are already pregnant. On the contrary, this is a clear sign that measures to decrease access to contraceptives, eliminate comprehensive sex education, and reduce access to safe legal abortion after 6 weeks are bad ideas.

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