Posts Tagged ‘
Pregnancy Tests ’
Monday, June 16th, 2014
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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Image courtesy of Shutterstock
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Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014
Should anyone be forced to take a pregnancy test? That’s the question on my mind now that three women have filed a lawsuit against the Alameda County, California, sheriff over a policy requiring all female inmates 60 or younger to submit to pregnancy tests, Huffington Post reports.
The ACLU of Northern California filed the lawsuit on behalf of the women yesterday. “Being forced to submit a pregnancy test against my will was not about my health. It was invasive, offensive, and humiliating,” said one of the women, Nancy Mancias, in a statement released by the organization.
According to the statement, arrestees in neighboring San Francisco “are given the option to take a pregnancy test as a part of a broader medical screening” but—and here’s the important part—they can decline to do so after they’ve met with a medical professional.
“If the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department is genuinely concerned about the health of women in their custody, voluntary pregnancy testing should be administered as part of a comprehensive health exam,” said Elizabeth Gill, Senior Staff Attorney at the organization. “Forcing a woman to take a pregnancy test is a clear violation of a person’s constitutional rights, as well as a violation of other state law.”
Not surprisingly, the Sheriff’s Department doesn’t see it that way—and as HuffPo reports: “[T]he Alameda County Sheriff’s Department told the San Francisco Chronicle that it’s been sued over this before—and last time, they were on the other side of the coin. The department was sued for not conducting the pregnancy tests. As part of the settlement, they agreed to make the tests mandatory.”
I don’t agree with the policy—especially considering, as the statement goes on to say, arrestees aren’t forced to take many other types of medical tests. To me it’s invasive, unfair, and unnecessary to force women (especially older women—because let’s face it, how many 59-year-olds turn up in jail pregnant?) to take a pregnancy test. So let’s review: offering the option? Great? Forcing it? Um, nope. I’m with the ACLU on this one.
Tell us: Do you agree with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department policy?
Image of a home pregnancy test courtesy of Shutterstock
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Tuesday, June 18th, 2013
One of the most horrendous days of Caroline Reinsch’s life brought some of the best news ever. Caroline, a victim of the Boston Marathon bombing, and her boyfriend Christian Williams were in the crowd on that fateful day on April 15. They were there to cheer on a friend who was running the marathon. When the bombs went off, Caroline and Christian were both hit. Caroline suffered a bloody hole in her thigh and a split quad muscle; Christian’s legs and right hand were ripped open. Amidst all of the chaos, they were taken to two separate hospitals, not knowing if the other would live or die.
When Caroline was brought to the ER, she was asked the routine question before going in for an X-ray: “Is there a possibility you’re pregnant?” Since the couple had been trying to conceive since the fall of 2012 with no luck, she said, “It’s possible, but I don’t think so,” and she didn’t give it another thought as she was still confused and in shock of the traumatic events that had played out before her eyes.
For 11 days, Caroline and Christian texted and talked on the phone without seeing each other before Caroline was released. She immediately went across town to her boyfriend’s bedside. Christian was coming out of his sixth surgery, where doctors were trying desperately to save his right leg. A few days passed before she got a call from her doctor to go over her discharge papers. During that call, Caroline was told she was given a pregnancy test during her hospital visit (which she didn’t realize at the time), and that it was a “slight positive.” (I didn’t think it was possible to be a “little pregnant,” but apparently it is!)
It was too early to tell if Caroline was pregnant, but it looked possible that she was one to two weeks along in her pregnancy. Excited—after all she had been hoping to get pregnant for months now—she took a home pregnancy test. It was positive! Concerned it could have been too old since it was a leftover from months of trying to conceive, she had her friend buy her another one and she took it in the hospital restroom down the hall from Christian’s room. Still in disbelief, she wanted to make sure it was accurate before telling him such big news. It, too, was positive!
As Christian lay in his hospital bed still recovering from the massive trauma to his body, Caroline casually, but nervously, told him: “I have something for you.” Then handed him the positive pregnancy test. Overjoyed, the couple vowed to keep their little bundle a secret until Father’s Day, when they could reveal their baby surprise to their families all at once. Caroline is still in a brace, and Christian’s legs and hands are covered in scars, but Christian explains their feelings about the marathon the best: “Any pain or suffering I felt has been replaced with joy,” he told the Boston Globe. “Discovering that I was going to be a father is how I’ll always remember the Marathon.”
It’s so nice to know that out of something so horrible as the Boston Marathon Bombing came something so incredibly amazing: one couple’s “miracle baby.”
TELL US: How did you find out you were pregnant?
Image of pregnancy test courtesy of Shutterstock.
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