Ever seen one of those threatening, “A pregnant woman never drinks alone,” signs in a bar bathroom stall to prevent Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? Alaska has just released the 2014 version of the advisories—by placing free pregnancy tests in 20 bar restrooms throughout the state, beginning in December.
Yep! Gone are the days you’ll have to trek to CVS and, tail-between-your-legs, embarrassingly buy a pregnancy test with a pack of gum (because you couldn’t bear to buy just the test).
Instead, just head to the bar with your girlfriends, order a gin and tonic and slip into the bathroom to pee on a stick. Pending the results, you can finish that drink when you get back to the table!
Okay, okay, it’s not that easy.
The University of Alaska is leading the state-funded, $400,000 program to combat Alaska’s rate of fetal alcohol syndrome, which according to the Anchorage Daily News, is the highest in the country. Women of childbearing age (which is apparently 18-44) living in Alaska are 20 percent more likely to binge drink in comparison to the national average.
(I, for one, don’t blame them. They live in ALASKA…where’s there’s not a lot of sunlight, and even less to do.)
The program is focused on helping women who don’t know if they are pregnant discover the truth, rather than a strategy for curing a chronic alcoholic who may be drinking during pregnancy, according to Jody Allen Crowe, the leader of a similar program in Minnesota.
The Minnesota initiative allows women to buy pregnancy tests for $3 from a dispenser that also warns about the dangers of drinking while pregnant. It reads: “A pregnant mother should not be drinking, and there are many cases where she may not even know she is pregnant.”
Alaska’s counterpart will be free, and Senator Pete Kelly hopes that one day, using pee-stick style tests dispensers before partying is one day as common as designated drivers.
I’m not sure I can fathom the idea of peeing on a stick before heading to happy hour—but that’s also because I’m not consistently wondering whether or not I’m pregnant (thank you, birth control!).
However, for those who may be uncertain about the state of their uterus, a neighborhood pub might just be informal enough to give a girl the guts to take a test. And while a bar bathroom probably isn’t the best place to find out you’re going to be a mommy, it’s better than, say, after the bar—once you’ve had a couple drinks.
The best scenario? Afterward, you can order your friends a round to celebrate…no matter what the outcome!