Family Magazine

"I'll Take a Pina Colada and a Pregnancy Test, Please"

By Melody S
Today, I came across a news article discussing the decision of a pub in Minnesota to sell pregnancy tests out of a vending machine in the women's washroom. My first reaction was surprise and a little bit of "hmmm, not sure if that's appropriate". However, upon reading the article and thinking about it a little bit more, I've got to say that this is probably a really great idea. The tests are selling for $3, which is a lot cheaper than you can buy them at the pharmacy. The vending machine in the washroom is also much more discreet than the local Jean Coutu.  A poster in the washroom explains the presence of the vending machine, and notes that many women drink without knowing that they are pregnant. For less than the price of a beer, women can have peace of mind that the happy hour mojito they are sipping will not result in a lifetime of regrets.
The owner of the pub claims that they don't make any money off of the sale of the tests - all monies go to a local nonprofit that works to educate the public about the dangers of drinking while pregnant. Kudos to them for recognizing a very real need and stepping up to offer the wall space for the vending machines.
In the Abnormal Psychology course that I teach, I regularly bring in an outside speaker to talk to the class about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, during the unit on Childhood Disorders. While FASD is not part of the curriculum for the course, I strongly believe that it does not get the attention that it deserves, and that every woman of child-bearing age should know of it. FASD is the only developmental disability that is 100% preventable. However, this does not mean that the mother is 100% to blame. Many times, women do not know they are pregnant until weeks, or even months into the pregnancy. Other times, the woman may have an alcohol dependency, and not have the resources and supports to get help. There are definitely also women out there who don't know that alcohol can cause irreversible damage to a developing fetus. If this initiative can spare even one child from the disability of FASD then it will have been a success.
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