The Washington Post ran this article about new federal guidelines that ask all women of childbearing age to treat themselves as "pre-pregnant," regardless of whether they are planning to have children now or in the future.
Although many of the tips are reasonable--maintain a healthy weight, keep chronic medical conditions under control--the idea that women should be doing these things because they are potential baby-making machines is really disturbing. How about encouraging everyone to follow these guidelines for personal health? Or, at the very least, give women real information about how their actions before pregnancy (or in the early stages of pregnancy, when they may not be aware they are pregnant) affect the health of a fetus so that they can make informed decisions that make sense in their personal lives.
But to advise that all women between (roughly) the age of 12 and 50 refrain from touching cat litter because they may have a baby one day? Seems that would eliminate the possibility of single women of childbearing age owning cats. I know at least one such woman who happens to post on this blog who would not be very happy about that.
Edited to add: This article reminds me of a time when I was 16 and working as a hostess at a restaurant on Mother's Day. A customer wished me a happy Mother's Day and I told him, laughingly, that I wasn't a mother. He looked at me and said "well, happy potential mother's day, then." It totally creeped me out. Yuck.