In January, I posted about how England had come up with a plan to curb Fetal Alcohol Syndrome by selling pregnancy tests in pub bathrooms—with the thought being that given the opportunity, a woman who thought she might be pregnant would take the pregnancy test before she went ahead with a night of boozing, and therefore could prevent causing alcohol-related disorders in her future baby if she was in fact pregnant. Now, a senator in Alaska is wanting to take things one step further by using taxpayer's money to supply free pregnancy tests in bathrooms of all the bars and restaurants in his state.
Republican senator Pete Kelly from Fairbanks got the idea after getting involved with an organization called Empowering Hope, whose mission is to eliminate Fetal Alcohol Syndrome from Alaska.
According to Alaska Dispatch, senator Kelly explained that "the pregnancy test assumes the best of us. If you know (you're pregnant), you'll make the right decision." When asked about whether he'd also thought about making condoms readily available, he said no, because the message the state would be sending would be different. Instead of encouraging people to make a good decision, he said free condoms send the message, "'Here, use this, because you are not going to control yourself.'"
I don't agree with that philosophy AT ALL. If your goal is protect unborn children from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, I think if you're going to give out pregnancy tests, why not give out condoms that could potentially prevent women who are drinking from getting pregnant in the first place?
Drinking while pregnant is a huge issue, and one worth talking about again and again because it's been proven that drinking during pregnancy can cause miscarriages, premature births, and fetal alcohol syndrome, which can lead to low birth weights, birth defects and learning and behavioral disorders.
A respected study from 2012 shows that as little as two drinks a week in the first trimester can increase a woman's risk of miscarriage. Of course, you might be thinking, "I had a few drinks before I found out I was pregnant and everything is still fine with my baby," but once you know, why risk anything bad happening to your baby over the craving for a glass of wine? I know I can wait the nine months!
I'm sure people will have a lot to say about whether these pregnancy tests should be government funded (is that what you'd want your tax money going towards?), but I'm not opposed to pregnancy tests being accessible in bars. As I mentioned in my last post on the topic, having these tests in public bathrooms will probably contribute to even longer bathroom lines. (Is that faint line really a line? Let me do it again! You know what I'm talking about!) But I think having to hold it a little longer is worth it if it means someone finds out they're pregnant and chooses not to drink that night. Don't you?
Wondering if you're pregnant? Answer a few questions and find if you might be.
TELL US: Should pregnancy tests in bars be government-funded? Would you take a pregnancy test in a bar? Why or why not?
Alcohol During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Image of pregnancy test courtesy of Shutterstock.