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KIE Scholar publishes op-ed in reply to CDC

This week, KIE Senior Research Scholar Rebecca Kukla discussed a recent advisory on alcohol consumption from the US Centers for Disease Control for the Los Angeles Times.

Citing the dangers of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), the advisory directs women of childbearing age to abstain from alcohol entirely unless they are on birth control.

Dr. Kukla writes:

The specific targeting of women’s alcohol consumption — and especially the scientifically unsupported prohibition of any alcohol consumption — is rooted in the belief that mothers have more responsibility for fetal health than fathers, and that women cannot be trusted to regulate their alcohol intake appropriately in light of realistic risk data.


Targeting individual women’s lifestyle choices in order to control fetal risk enhances a culture of blame and implicitly endorses paternalistic control over women’s agency. If we wish to reduce the incidence of FASD, we should be looking at structural solutions that will help potential mothers avoid and overcome the true risk factors for that disorder: addiction and poverty.

Read the full op-ed »