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Ever wondered if you were pregnant halfway through your third Gin & Tonic? For those women who aren’t expecting to be expecting, it could happen. Pub 500 in Minneapolis-St. Paul has you covered.
They now offer pregnancy tests via dispenser in the women’s bathroom, with a huge sign across the front of the machine that says: “Think Before You Drink.”
The dispenser was put there by Healthy Brains for Children, a local non-profit who state on their website their mission to “change the current norm so that a woman who could be pregnant is testing every time she is going to drink alcohol.”
Their idea is an important one, especially at a time when the political climate around women feels so paternal. They’re urging women to be responsible about their bodies and making it easy for them to do that.
By placing pregnancy test dispensers in easily accessible places, HBFC wants women to have a constant reminder to make sure they’re not with child before getting a drink. They also want to alleviate some of the embarrassment of having to go to the pharmacy and buy a pregnancy test, which is especially beneficial for women in small towns where people talk. (Being from a small town, pharmacy-born rumors are nothing to sneer at.)
According to the HBFC website, over 70 percent of 20-29 year old women are having unexpected pregnancies. That’s a ton. And it’s something to take very seriously. When you’re talking about a baby, one single beer for a woman who doesn’t know she’s 4 weeks pregnant can do irrevocable damage. Even the smallest amounts of alcohol have been known to have negative impacts on a child’s learning capacity once they reach school age. According to prenatal health studies, the first trimester of pregnancy is a crucial time in development, when all the major organs of the body begin to form. How the baby develops in stages beyond that will rely on these basic structures.
The non-profit HBFC is trying to broaden its scope, currently working with Canada and a few other states besides Minnesota to put out a test run of 100 dispensers and get a general feeling and response from the public. Pub 500, like gas stations, hotels and other venues where the dispensers are placed, don’t make a profit from the machine. Hopefully, more communities will be as supportive as these local businesses have been. I mean, it makes sense. If you can walk into the bookstore and get free condoms, why not walk into the bar and get a pregnancy test?
Reprinted with permission from The Jane Dough.