You've probably seen this delightful infographic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, right? You know, the one that says women shouldn't drink if they're not on birth control, because they might get accidentally pregnant? If you haven't, and you haven't yet met your quota today for the absurd, well, here you go:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Much thinkpiece hay has rightfully been made of the comically stupid implication here that women's drinking is the real cause of unintended pregnancy. But even setting that aside—and the gross insinuation that women are somehow to blame for "injuries/violence" they may encounter when drinking (I mean, nice rape myth, champ!)—there's this: The CDC warning states that drinking too much can cause "sexually transmitted diseases," which CAN ACTUALLY BE INTERPRETED TO SUGGEST THAT GONORRHEA IS TRANSMITTED BY BOOZE ITSELF. I'm not saying that's an insightful interpretation, or that I truly think a touch of the syph travels in a good IPA, I'm just saying that the way this is written ALLOWS FOR THAT INTERPRETATION, which is simply further evidence of how POORLY this ~*educational infographic*~ was constructed.

Now, about that birth control admonishment. Donning my "Chief Ladyparts Correspondent" hat (it's a beer guzzler hat shaped like a uterus FYI*), here's the thing about birth control, especially of the hormonal on-it-all-the-time variety: Some women can't tolerate it. That shit causes side effects, you guys. Like, bad ones. Like, "I used to have low-level anxiety and now I live inside a cloud of depression that for some reason immediately recedes once I stop taking Yaz" side effects. Like, mandatory nausea at the same time every day side effects. And I haven't even gotten to IUDs, which, while a great option for those of us who like a "set it and forget it" approach to not being with child, can also CAUSE ovarian cysts, which can make them a nonstarter for women who have a history of cysts, and the kind without hormones? Here's an interpretive GIF.

Now, I'm not here for telling anyone what to do with their own bodies (this is why I am not an IUD evangelist, although I like the enthusiasm), and when it comes to birth control, I HELL OF THINK YOU SHOULD USE THE METHOD THAT WORKS FOR YOU, because while there are good surprises in the world—like surprise parties, and surprise cake at work—surprise babies ARE NOT ONE OF THEM. But the CDC's implication that preventing unintended pregnancy is something women should solely be responsible for, and that if they can't be on long-acting birth control, they should at least not drink seems a little, um... avoidant?

Because it's avoiding a very REAL contributor to incidences of unintended pregnancy: reproductive coercion, AKA birth control sabotage, when women don't have a choice about using birth control, because their own capacity to get pregnant is effectively being used as a weapon against them by an abusive partner. This happens! It is a huge problem! According to a study cited by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women with unintended pregnancies were four times more likely to have experienced reproductive coercion than women whose pregnancies were planned. So yeah, pushing teetotaling on women with coercive partners is definitely not going to help prevent pregnancy. But it IS needlessly cruel and condescending, so if you were going for THAT, CDC, looks like you succeeded!

Welp, I'm going to go hang out in my crying cupboard with a baptismal font of whiskey. I hope it doesn't give me the clap!

*I don't actually have one of these, but now I really want one. Any crafty feminists want to make me a beer guzzler hat shaped like a uterus? I KNOW YOU'RE OUT THERE. THIS IS PORTLAND.