Do Pregnancy Tests Belong in Bar Bathrooms?!

Home pregnancy test commercials would have us believe that every one of those products is used in a sparkling clean residential bathroom, with two smiling partners sharing big news. But life is rarely so cut and dry.

Exhibit A: In an effort to combat Alaska’s problem with fetal alcohol syndrome—the highest of any state in the union—a new state-funded program will offer free pregnancy tests in the bathrooms of 20 bars and restaurants starting at the end of this year, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Binge drinking is epidemic in Alaska, with women 20 percent more likely to do so in their child-bearing years compared to other places around the country. And according to the Daily News report, the program will attempt to study if posters that warn women against drinking during pregnancy work better when they are plastered to pregnancy test dispensers instead of just posted on a wall. The messages will be two feet tall.

“This is not a strategy for the chronic alcoholic who is drinking regardless of whatever message they see,” Jody Allen Crowe, whose Minnesota organization is involved with the program, told the Daily News. “This is really focused on the 50 percent of unexpected pregnancies, to find out they are pregnant as early as possible.”

While the program struck me as pretty shocking at first, there’s plenty of evidence out there in the world to suggest it’s just the kind of thing that might work. For instance—and I think this is a fair comparison—only a few days ago, The New York Times reported that new legislation in Australia that replaced logos with gruesome health warnings on cigarette packs appears to have reduced household consumption of tobacco by close to 5 percent over the last year ending in March.

Drastic times call for drastic measures, as they say, and it seems to me that shocking messages just might reach a set of temptation-prone but otherwise rational people—and those without cases of clinical addiction.

But I’d love to hear your take on it: Are pregnancy tests in bar bathrooms a good idea?

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Tips for Taking an At-Home Pregnancy Test
Tips for Taking an At-Home Pregnancy Test
Tips for Taking an At-Home Pregnancy Test

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