Will free pregnancy tests in bar restroom prevent fetal alcohol syndrome? The state of Alaska is hoping it will. In fact, with alcohol use during pregnancy being among the top preventable causes of developmental disabilities and birth defects, the state is even funding a special, two-year pilot project being conducted by the University of Alaska Anchorage.
“Remember the last time you had sex? Were you drinking? Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause lifelong problems for the child.” So says a sign attached to a free pregnancy test dispenser in the women’s restroom at the Peanut Farm bar in Anchorage, Alaska. The Peanut Farm, NPR confirms, is one of the four Alaskan bars that has placed pregnancy test dispensers for the pilot project.
The $400,000 project’s supporters believe it could yield significant results considering the millions of dollars that Alaska puts out for social services and health care for a patient with fetal alcohol syndrome. Officials state that over 120 babies born in the state every year are afflicted with fetal alcohol symptoms.
David Driscoll, study author and director of the University of Alaska Anchorage Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies, said this research project will determine if distributing pregnancy test dispensers and warning signs in bar restrooms works better than just putting up posters. He added: “We’re always looking for ways to try and improve our ability to provide information.”
General Manager of The Peanut Farm, Travis Block said: “People are going to drink, and that’s what we’re here to do is, you know, provide entertainment. But each person has to make up their own decision on what they want to do with their body.”
Deb Evensen, an educator who has specialized in fetal alcohol syndrome prevention for over three decades, told the press: “A lot of women now understand that they shouldn’t drink (while pregnant). But a lot of people are still drinking in early pregnancy and before they know they’re pregnant — and that can cause a lot of damage.”
Will Free Pregnancy Tests In Bars Prevent Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?