This year, Alaska will install pregnancy test vending machines in 20 bars and restaurants across the state. The plan is part of a two-year program aimed at finding a way to lower the state's high fetal alcohol syndrome, reports ABC News. The move follows one made by Minnesota in 2012. Back then Pub 500, a bar in Mankato, Minn., was in support of the program right from the start. Theresa Carlberg, a Pub 500 patron told the local NBC station: "If you can buy condoms and whatnot at a bar, it's logical to buy a pregnancy test. It's less embarrassing than going to the drug store." Bar owners in Alaska have yet to weigh in on the legislation.
Jody Allen Crowe, founder of the nonprofit Healthy Brains For Children — which distributes pregnancy test vending machines — explained her position: "Right now 50 percent of pregnancies across the nation are unexpected. This is really focusing on women who are casual drinkers, people who would never drink if they knew they were pregnant."
The statewide initiative comes after a proposal put forth by State Senate Finance co-chair Pete Kelly, who says he has declared a war on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). He plans to make the pregnancy test kits in bars available for free to make it as easy as possible for women who might be pregnant to find out for sure before having another drink. Kelly explains: "Literally, you can go into the bathroom at the bar and test. So if you're drinking, you're out at the big birthday celebration and you're like, 'Gee, I wonder if I ...?'"
· Alaska Bars to Offer Pregnancy Tests in Bathrooms [ABC]
· Minnesota Pub Allows Female Patrons to Order Up a Pregnancy Test [NYDN]
· Senator Proposes State-Funded Pregnancy Tests in 'War' on FASD [ADN]