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The CDC Doesn’t Know How Babies Are Made


Women of childbearing age, take note. The next time you roll up to a bar for girls’ night, make sure to bring two forms of identification: your driver’s license and proof of your birth control prescription. The Centers for Disease Control is now acting as a bouncer for your womb.

On Wednesday the agency tasked with promoting the health and safety of the country using Science recommended that only women on the pill should drink. Evidently the doctors at the CDC have no idea how babies are made.

Forgive me for taking this personally, but I wouldn’t be here if not for the invention of Irish whiskey. My two children wouldn’t be here if not for Pinot Noir. We’re a good Catholic family. The only form of birth control we use is my physique, but, like every other method of birth control short of abstinence, it is not 100 percent effective (Baby No. 3 is due in July). Evidently we are child-abusing monsters.

“Every woman who is pregnant or trying to get pregnant – and her partner – want [sic] a healthy baby. But they may not be aware that drinking any alcohol at any stage of pregnancy can cause a range of disabilities for their child,” the CDC’s Colleen Boyle said in a release (emphasis in the original).

Apparently We Can’t Be Trusted to Control Ourselves

The link between alcohol and sex needs no explanation, but studies show that our intellectually bankrupt age will believe anything so long as the words “studies show” appear in the text. So the CDC spent taxpayer dollars on a study to explain the link between alcohol and sex.

The difference between a social glass of wine at a party and binge drinking constantly throughout a pregnancy are obvious to all but government regulators.

Their final report concluded that women having any drinks without birth control exposed babies to fetal alcohol syndrome. Their advice to doctors: “Healthcare providers should advise women who want to become pregnant to stop drinking alcohol as soon as they stop using birth control.”

The difference between a social glass of wine at a party and binge drinking constantly throughout a pregnancy are obvious to all but government regulators. It is just the latest foray into anti-alcohol Puritanism. Three years before the CDC announced its recommendations, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced it wanted to cut the driving while intoxicated floor from a blood alcohol content of .08—roughly two to three drinks—to .05—roughly Communion.

In both cases, government seems to be overreacting to problems of its own imagination, but it’s important to understand why you should revisit P.J. O’Rourke’s coverage of NTSB’s cousins, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Department of Transportation, in “Parliament of Whores.”

These two agencies spent millions of taxpayer dollars to reveal that drivers, rather than phantom “sudden acceleration,” were to blame for a spate of car crashes. The final study appears at first glance to be a victory of common sense. O’Rourke recognized the trouble that comes when we outsource our reason to the feds.

“The people at DOT had to make their investigation of sudden acceleration not because they’re fools, but because we are. They have the job of making all known forms of conveyances as safe and harmless as Whiffle Balls, so that none of us will ever get hurt again by any bad old technology that we don’t understand,” O’Rourke says. “I told you government was a bad thing. Let’s get together and have these people fired.”

The War on Fun

The CDC was trying to convey the same common sense in the form of soft recommendations, of course. Liberals are already rushing to say—rather smugly—that this is not creeping big brother stripping drinks from pregnant women. It’s just big brother terrifying young mothers into total abstinence—the same type that liberals condemn in discussions of sex-ed—and encouraging public shaming of pregnant women who dare ask for a glass of wine at a restaurant.

For an ideology that prides itself on being hip and with it, they sure are square.

The recommendations should shock no one who has paid close enough attention to modern liberalism’s War on Fun. For an ideology that prides itself on being hip and with it, they sure are square. The free love it preaches comes with more asterisks than Barry Bonds’ baseball records.

It’s free so long as it’s consensual. It’s consensual so long as both parties sign valid permission forms for every act of escalation in said free love. It’s valid so long as one party in particular has not ingested any chemical other than a birth control pill in the previous 240 hours. In the black-and-white world of liberalism we can either be a nation of Bill Cosbys or Baptists, Andrea Yateses or Mormons.

There’s more at stake here when we take demographics into consideration: our birthrate is wobbling along the replacement level. We all know what follows: outnumbered young workers fork over ever-larger pieces of their paychecks to care for older retirees, sending the welfare state into perpetual recession.

If America wants to avoid the death spirals sub-replacement birthrates countries like Japan and Italy have entered, we should do all we can to encourage baby-making tools like alcohol. It’s tough to run a nanny state when there are no kids to coddle.