Alaska will soon offer free pregnancy tests to women in the loos of bars.
The new state-funded program is aimed at lowering Alaska’s high rate of foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). Alaska has the biggest number of babies born with FAS within the US.
Binge drinking is a big issue in Alaska. Women of child-bearing age are 20% more likely to binge drink in Alaska than the US national average, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
Research shows that binge drinking during pregnancy can have serious consequences on a baby’s growth and development.
The pregnancy test campaign is aimed at women who are heavy drinkers but who don’t know they’re pregnant.
“This is really focused on the 50% of unexpected pregnancies, to help them find out if they are pregnant as early as possible,” explains Jody Allen Crowe, founder of Healthy Brains for Children that has installed test dispensers in bars in Minnesota and is assisting with the Alaskan scheme.
The 2-year pilot scheme will cost $400,000.
Researchers will also study the effectiveness of posters that warn women against drinking excessively while pregnancy – when they are pasted on dispensers for these free pregnancy tests.
What do you think? Would a pregnancy test dispenser in a bar make you think twice if there’s a chance you might be pregnant? Please post your comments!