Over the past few weeks there seems to be yet another warning for women whenever you turn around. Although the intention is good, the messages seem to have been delivered without much thought to contemporary women and the other side of the equation….. men. Following are the warnings and my commentary.
- Drinking alcohol of any amount during your pregnancy puts your child at risk of fetal alcohol syndrome, miscarriage and stillbirth. While I agree that regular alcohol use during pregnancy is not advised, having a few drinks before you know you are pregnant will not cause any of the above. What it will do is make women anxious and feel guilt that they have caused a miscarriage or complication of pregnancy. And since women feel guilty about enough once their child is born, this only adds to the heap.
- Alcohol use puts women at risk for sexually transmitted diseases, violence and pregnancy. I think there may be another part of the equation that is missing here. Women drinking with other women aren’t at risk for a STD or pregnancy. Where is the caution to men? Male use of alcohol definitely increases the risk of STDs, pregnancy and violence. Why aren’t we advocating for men of reproductive age that are sexually active to always have at least 10 condoms in their billfold? Unlike women, their form of birth control is available over the counter and in vending machines.
- There has been a dramatic rise in the rate of syphilis among women in MN. Once again, the women aren’t finding syphilis on the restroom counters (even when they have drank too much). If there has been a rise among women, there certainly has to be an equal rise among men.
- Since Planned Parenthood was defunded in Texas in 2013, use of long-acting birth control in that state, such as the IUD, implanon or depo, have each decreased by 1/3 due to lack of availability. This has also led to a rise in Medicare births as availability is more difficult in lower socio-economic areas. Forewarning – if you are a poor woman in Texas of reproductive age, don’t drink and engage in sex. Hopefully your partner can still get condoms and knows how to use them correctly.
- If you are pregnant, or thinking of becoming pregnant on your tropical vacation, travel to anywhere south of Florida is not advised due to the Zika virus. If your partner decides to travel without you, you will need to wear a Hazmat suit for the remainder of your pregnancy to avoid intercourse or kissing, as the virus has been found in semen and saliva. For many reasons, your partner may want to think twice about traveling without you!
- “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” This statement from Madeline Albright concerning the lack of female support for Clinton’s presidential bid. Women have fought for years to be considered equals in politics and society. We have the potential to elect the first female president and yet 70% of women under age 30 support Sanders instead of Clinton. I don’t think contemporary young women understand what obstacles women faced 50 years ago and the decisions that they were forced to make to further their careers – decisions that are criticized today.