An American bar owner has installed a pregnancy test vending machine in the ladies’ toilets in an effort to prevent prenatal exposure to alcohol.
Tom Frederik, of Pub 500 in Mankato, Minnesota, says the tests encourage women to check if they’re pregnant before indulging in a few drinks. A message on the machine encourages sexually active women to take the tests every two weeks.
Drinking in pregnancy can cause foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), a variety of conditions that can affect development, mainly due to damage in the developing central nervous system. The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines advise pregnant women that to avoid FASD, it's safest to avoid consuming any alcohol.
“If it gives you an informed decision at that point in time to stop drinking, your baby is going to be better for it,” Frederik told Fox News.
Frederik said that if the machine – which cost him $1000 - stops even one child getting FASD, “it’s well worth it.”
If you can imagine your children were born with a birth defect that was preventable, yeah, it can tug at your heart strings
“If you can imagine your children were born with a birth defect that was preventable, yeah, it can tug at your heart strings.”
The idea came from a customer, Jody Allen Crowe, who is an expert in FASD. He has written a book, The Fatal Link, which looks at a connection between prenatal exposure to alcohol and school shootings, and sometimes worked on his writing while at the bar.
Crowe said the money earned through the machine will go to his charity, Healthy Brains for Children.
“I’m thinking that in a few years this will be commonplace and it will be part of the expectation [of a bar],” Crowe said.
The bar’s customers supported the idea, with one telling a local news station, “If you can buy condoms and whatnot in a bar, it’s logical to buy a pregnancy test. It’s less embarrassing than going to the drug store. It’s discreet, readily available and inexpensive.”
What do you think of bars selling pregnancy testing kits? Have your say in the comments below.